By Philip Sutton, Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History & Genealogy, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library, October 14, 2011.
The New York Public Library's Milstein Division is home to one of the largest free United States history, local history, and genealogy collections in the country, and many of the library's patrons are writing their family histories. Many reference questions pertain to building histories, especially in the light of genealogy. Afterall, those ancesters lived somewhere, and it's natural to wonder what it was like where they lived.
Sometimes patrons are curious about the buildings they live in, when the buildings were built, and by whom. They might wonder, "Who lived in my apartment building?," "What were they like?," and "What were their lives like?" The library gets these type of questions so often, they put together a brief guide to the kinds of materials that you might use to research a New York City building's history.
The Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA), established by Local Law 161 of 2017, serves as a resource to tenants who are affected by work in occupied multiple family dwellings. Tenants may contact OTA with comments, questions and complaints concerning construction in occupied multiple family dwellings. Tenants may also contact OTA if they have questions or concerns related to Tenant Protection Plans.
Your time to submit a renewal application may be extended for up to six months if you were hospitalized or your apartment was damaged by fire, flood, or a natural catastrophe during the time to file your renewal. If you need help accessing Department of Finance programs and services because of a disability, you can request additional time to submit your application as a reasonable accommodation. If you need help or have questions, please contact 311 or visit nyc.gov/contactscrie or nyc.gov/contactdrie
Forms for landlords:
The City Housing Maintenance Code and State Multiple Dwelling Law require building owners to provide heat and hot water to all tenants. Building owners are required to provide hot water 365 days a year at a constant minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Between October 1st and May 31st, a period designated as “Heat Season,” building owners are also required to provide tenants with heat under the following conditions:
- Between the hours of 6am and 10pm, if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Between the hours of 10pm and 6am the inside temperature is required to be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no longer any outside temperature requirement during these hours.
Tenants who are cold in their apartments should first attempt to notify the building owner, managing agent, or superintendent. If heat is not restored, the tenant should call the City’s Citizen Service Center at 311. For the hearing-impaired, the TTY number is 212-504-4115. The Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Regular heating bills from a variety of heat sources (even if heat is included in your rent or you live in subsidized housing)
- Emergency payments to keep you from losing your heat
- Replacing damaged furnaces, boilers and heating units
Eligibility for HEAP is based on your household income, family size and energy costs. If you are homebound and need help with your heating bills, you can call the NYC Heat Line at 212-331-3150 to arrange a home visit. For more information, call 311.
Most airbnb listings are illegal, according to the State Attorney General.
NYS Multiple Dwellings Law covers buildings with 3 or more units and prohibits transient rentals of fewer than 30 days at a time unless the owner is present.
Lease agreements for market rate renters and coop owners usually prohibit subletting without permission from landlord or coop board.
Hosts in rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments may have restrictions on subletting. Subletting may lead to eviction.
New York State has a law targeting advertising of illegal listings on sites like airbnb. Penalties may be imposed on the host.
Hosts must follow the New York City building codes. They may need zoning or occupancy certificate changes to convert a property from long term housing to a hotel. Upgrades may be needed.
Local municipality taxes must be collected from guests.
From New York State Senator Liz Krueger's website:
Answers for New Yorkers Concerned or Confused About the Illegal Hotel Law
What is illegal hotel activity? When permanent residential apartments in buildings with three units or more are rented out for less than 30 days to transient visitors instead of residents, that’s illegal hotel activity. Illegal hotel operations can range from one unit, to a few units here and there, to large-scale operations, with dozens or even hundreds of units converted to full-time illegal hotel use.
The...law does not apply to owners of single-family and two-family homes, or residents who rent out individual rooms in their homes for less than 30 days (as long as they are also there the entire time).
[T]he vast majority of rental leases, as well as most co-op and condo bylaws, do not allow tenants to rent out their apartments without first obtaining permission from their landlords or coop/condo board. This means that landlords (and many coop and condo buildings) can initiate eviction cases against those who are engaged in illegal hotel activity.
Click on the icon on the map for details about the affordable housing lotteries.
The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE, also known as the NYC Rent Freeze Program) freezes the rent for head-of-household seniors 62 and older who live in rent-regulated apartments. In order to satisfy the income eligibility requirement, the senior's household income must be $50,000 or less.
Landlords are given a property tax abatement credit applied to their property tax bill in the same amount as the increase that the tenant is exempted from paying.
For forms and more details on eligibility:
Forms for landlords:
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will take measures to ensure that the building owner is complying with the law.