Emergency Tenant Protection Act Information Hub

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link


The Emergency Tenant Protection Act


Effective August 1st, 2022, the City of Kingston has opted into the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). Under the ETPA, buildings built before 1974 with six or more units are now rent stabilized. Meaning, rent increases cannot exceed an annual percentage decided by Kingston's City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB).


In addition to rent stabilization, apartments under the ETPA are subject to other protections, such as guaranteed lease renewal, services/maintenance standards, and more.


The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) decides the following:

  • An annual percentage that determines how much the rent in ETPA buildings may be legally adjusted, for a new one or two year lease. Any rent increase larger than the percentage decided by the RGB would be considered an illegal overcharge, and can be challenged by a tenant.

  • A tenant may also challenge rent increases that took place during a specific period prior to Kingston's adoption of the ETPA. This is known as the act's "lookback" period, as in, a rent increase that took place before August 1st, but is within the act's lookback period, could still be considered an illegal overcharge. The RGB decides the length of the lookback period, and the percentage by which rent could have permissibly increased within the lookback period.

  • The Rent Guidelines Board made initial determinations on November 9th, 2022. A lawsuit challenged the November 9th decision of the Rent Guidelines Board and the State Supreme Court put the rent adjustment on hold. However, ETPA remains in effect in the City of Kingston. This means that the rent freeze that went into effect on August 1 remains in place for ETPA tenants.


Enforcement of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act is tenant-driven. Rent stabilized tenants are entitled to submit formal complaints for response from the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), if they feel that the owner of their unit/building is not complying with their obligations outlined in the ETPA, and as determined by the RGB.


What to know about filing a complaint:


  • Although it is recommended that tenants contact their building/unit owner, or the owner's representative(s), directly prior to filing a formal complaint, formal complaints help individuals ensure the protections offered by the ETPA are protected.

  • Complaints may be about a range of concerns in areas addressed by the ETPA, including illegal overcharge, lack of lease renewal, decreased services, and more.

  • Categories of complaint correspond with forms which may be submitted either as fillable PDFs with original, written signatures, or, through completely online applications.

  • Prior to submitting a complaint, tenants should collect all relevant pieces of evidence, which may include paperwork such as cancelled checks, current or previous leases, direct writings to a landlord, etc. Specific pieces are listed on each form.

Tenant Action:

  • Residents of building/complexes may form Tenant Unions or other formal/informal groups, in order to collectively address and take action in securing their rights under the ETPA.

  • Tenants can seek legal counsel through a private law service, a free counseling service for low income individuals, such as Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, or another COK tenant advocacy group.

Described on this page are the various complaint forms tenants may file in order to defend their rights under the ETPA. Read below to select, and file, a tenant complaint under the ETPA.

Need additional help? Contact the Office of Rent Administration at 833-499-0343 or visit https://hcr.ny.gov/city-of-kingston-adopts-etpa or contact the City of Kingston Office Department of Housing Initiatives at 845-334-3928.



ETPA Complaint Forms


RA-89: Tenant's Complaint of Rent and/or Other Specific Overcharges in a Rent Stabilized Apartment

Overview:

  • Form RA-89 primarily covers overcharge complaints. An overcharge complaint is filed by a tenant who believes that an increase of their rent exceeds the annual guideline determined by the Rent Guidelines Board.

  • An illegal overcharge could also fall under a specific category, for example, unapproved collection for building-wide improvements, or illegally imposed fees. Such categories are listed within the form, tenants are prompted to check every category relevant to their situation.

  • Aside from illegal overcharge, RA-89 is also used to report a missing or incorrectly completed unit registration.

Sections:

Other (Use to report a rent overcharge)

  • An overcharge complaint is filed by a tenant who believes that an increase of their rent exceeds the annual guideline determined by the Rent Guidelines Board.

  • Currently, there is no specific category for general rent overcharge on form RA-89. It is recommended that tenants experiencing a rent overcharge check the category "Other" and then provide additional details in the space provided.


Fair Market Rent Appeal (FMRA)

  • The percentage determined by the Rent Guidelines Board guideline applies to the rent amount on a tenant's current, signed lease.

  • Tenants may challenge their initial rent, to which the fair market rent guideline will be annually applied, in a newly rent-stabilized unit, by selecting the "Fair Market Rent Appeal (FMRA) (for Kingston only)" option on form RA-89. Tenants have 90 days, from the day that they receive a copy of their unit registration, to file an FMRA.


Missing Apartment Registrations

  • Under the ETPA, owners are required to individually register the rent stabilized apartments in their buildings.

  • It is also required that each tenant receive a copy of their unit's registration, which includes information such as lease date, legal regulated rent, and provided services. After adoption of the ETPA, tenants receive an initial registration, and following, a new registration annually.

  • If a registration is not delivered, or is incorrectly completed, a tenant has cause to file a complaint.

  • Detailed information can be found under question 6, "Documentation," on page 4 of FACT SHEET 8.


Rent Reduction Order(s)

  • If an owner is found to have made a rent overcharge, reduced and/or refunded rent will be imposed. A rent reduction may also occur after the submission of a services complaint, until the services of concern have been restored.

  • A tenant has cause to file a complaint under "Rent Reduction Order(s)" on form RA-89 if the owner of their unit/building did not comply with an agency order to reduce or refund rent.


Major Capital Improvement (MCI) Increase(s)

  • A temporary rent increase may be approved in buildings which have undergone a Major Capital Improvement (MCI). An MCI is a building-wide improvement, such as replacement of a boiler, plumbing, or roofs.

  • Tenants must be notified when an owner applies for an MCI increase, and are given the opportunity to submit written responses, as part of the approval process.

  • A tenant may report an illegal overcharge under this category if: the MCI was not properly approved, the MCI is incomplete/defective, the building owner did not properly document or calculate costs, etc.

  • A list of specific MCI overcharge scenarios can be found under question 7, page 6 of FACT SHEET 24.


Individual Apartment Improvement (IAI) Increase

  • A temporary rent increase may be approved in units which have undergone an Individual Apartment Increase (IAI). An IAI is an improvement applied to an individual apartment, such as new flooring, new kitchen/bathroom appliances, or new built-in clothing closets.

  • No IAI increase is permitted unless the tenant submits written, informed consent. Tenants must be notified when an owner applies for an IAI increase, and may submit an official form consenting to the improvement/rent increase.

  • A tenant may report an illegal overcharge under this category if: the IAI was not properly approved or consented to, the AIA item is incomplete/defective, the apartment owner did not properly document or calculate costs, etc.

  • Detailed information on IAI increases can be found throughout OPERATIONAL BULLETIN 2016-1.


Security Deposits

  • Under the ETPA, specific regulations are applied to the collection of security deposits, such as: a security deposit cannot exceed the amount of one month's rent, owners cannot require payment of a deposit to reserve an apartment, owners cannot collect a broker's fee, etc.

  • Tenants may file a security deposit complaint if any ETPA required regulations regarding security deposits had not been followed by their landlord.

  • Detailed information on security deposits can be found throughout FACT SHEET 9.


Illegal Fees and/or Surcharges

  • Although there are certain fees, separate from the rent of an apartment, that are lawful to charge tenants under the ETPA, a fee or surcharge that is not permitted under the ETPA is considered an illegal overcharge.

  • Lawful fees include: late fees, fees incurred from a bounced rent check, fees imposed by a government agency, legal fees ordered by a judge in court, etc.

  • Tenants may file a complaint to report that they are being charged fees other than those considered lawful under the ETPA.

  • A detailed list of lawful versus unlawful fees can be found on page 2 of FACT SHEET 44.


Parking Charges

  • Tenants may file a complaint related to parking charges if they believe that their parking charges have increased at a rate exceeding the fair market rent guideline.


RA-90: Tenant's Complaint of Owner's Failure to Renew Lease and/or Failure to Furnish a Copy of a Signed Lease


Overview:

  • Under the ETPA, owners are required to offer tenants a choice of a one or two year renewal lease at the rate set by the Rent Guidelines Board.

  • A tenant may file a lease renewal complaint if they were not offered a lease renewal, if their lease renewal was only offered under changed conditions, if they were not provided proper documentation of their lease renewal, etc.

  • A tenant can file a lease renewal complaint using form RA-90. Detailed information on lease renewal can be found throughout FACT SHEET 4.

Sections:

  • The owner refuses to give me a renewal lease.

  • The owner refuses to give me a lease for __________ years as I requested. The owner offered a lease for __________ years.

  • The owner refuses to offer me a renewal lease on the same terms and conditions as were in my expiring lease. The owner has made changes in the new lease.

  • The owner failed to furnish me with a signed copy of my new or renewal lease.

  • The owner refuses to add my spouse's name on the renewal lease.


RA-81: Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Service(s) - Individual Apartment/RA-84: Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Building-Wide Service(s)


Overview:

  • Under the ETPA, owners are required to continue maintaining equipment and services that were listed in their Initial Apartment Registration and Initial Building Services Registration, and/or all services provided/required to be provided by law as of August 1st, 2022.

  • Required or essential services include repairs, heat, hot/cold water, maintenance, janitorial services, elevator service etc. Detailed information on essential or required services can be found throughout FACT SHEET 3.

  • A tenant may file a services complaint if they experience decreased services or conditions in their apartment/building.

  • There are two forms that could be used to file a services complaint: one for individual apartments, RA-81, and one for building-wide concerns, RA-84. Each is described below. Detailed information on rent reductions for decreased services can be found in FACT SHEET 14.

Sections:

RA-81: Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Service(s) - Individual Apartment -

  • Used if the owner has failed to maintain services/equipment in areas of an individual apartment/unit. Areas of concern can include: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom(s), living room, dining room, hall inside of apartment, etc.

RA-84: Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Building-Wide Service(s)

  • Used if the owner has failed to maintain services/equipment in shared areas of a building. Areas of concern can include: Entrance, lobby, hall, staircase, elevator, etc.


RA-60H: Tenant's Statement of Complaint(s) - Harassment

Overview:

  • Harassment includes actions undertaken by an owner to deprive a tenant of their rights under the ETPA. Owners and associated individuals cannot interfere with a tenant's privacy or comfort within an apartment/building.

  • Harassment can take a number of different forms, and can be anything from threats of eviction, to a retributive decrease in services, to unfounded legal action taken against a tenant.

  • To report harassment, tenants can file form RA-60H. Detailed information on harassment can be found throughout FACT SHEET 17.

Sections:

  • I was offered __________ $ by __________ to vacate my apartment by __________. I was threatened with eviction if I refused to vacate my apartment.

  • I was told that essential services would not be provided.

  • I was offered another apartment. After I refused the offer, the services were decreased.

  • I was offered another apartment. After I refused the offer, I have received threats of eviction from __________ .

  • The owner has brought court action against me, the claim against me is unfounded.

  • I have been illegally evicted, "locked-out" or otherwise excluded from my apartment.

  • The owner has intentionally decreased, withheld or interrupted the following services: security, heat, hot water, cold water, electricity, superintendent or janitor etc.


RA-22.1: Tenant Affirmation of Non-Compliance

Overview:

  • A tenant can submit a non-compliance complaint if an owner has failed to comply with an agency directive contained in an order.

  • If issued an order, an owner must comply within 30 days. A non-compliance complaint is usually filed in the case that an owner has not restored decreased services when ordered to do so after a tenant has filed a services complaint.

  • A tenant can file a non-compliance complaint using form RA-22.1.



The Emergency Tenant Protection Act


Effective August 1st, 2022, the City of Kingston has opted into the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). Under the ETPA, buildings built before 1974 with six or more units are now rent stabilized. Meaning, rent increases cannot exceed an annual percentage decided by Kingston's City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB).


In addition to rent stabilization, apartments under the ETPA are subject to other protections, such as guaranteed lease renewal, services/maintenance standards, and more.


The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) decides the following:

  • An annual percentage that determines how much the rent in ETPA buildings may be legally adjusted, for a new one or two year lease. Any rent increase larger than the percentage decided by the RGB would be considered an illegal overcharge, and can be challenged by a tenant.

  • A tenant may also challenge rent increases that took place during a specific period prior to Kingston's adoption of the ETPA. This is known as the act's "lookback" period, as in, a rent increase that took place before August 1st, but is within the act's lookback period, could still be considered an illegal overcharge. The RGB decides the length of the lookback period, and the percentage by which rent could have permissibly increased within the lookback period.

  • The Rent Guidelines Board made initial determinations on November 9th, 2022. A lawsuit challenged the November 9th decision of the Rent Guidelines Board and the State Supreme Court put the rent adjustment on hold. However, ETPA remains in effect in the City of Kingston. This means that the rent freeze that went into effect on August 1 remains in place for ETPA tenants.


Enforcement of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act is tenant-driven. Rent stabilized tenants are entitled to submit formal complaints for response from the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), if they feel that the owner of their unit/building is not complying with their obligations outlined in the ETPA, and as determined by the RGB.


What to know about filing a complaint:


  • Although it is recommended that tenants contact their building/unit owner, or the owner's representative(s), directly prior to filing a formal complaint, formal complaints help individuals ensure the protections offered by the ETPA are protected.

  • Complaints may be about a range of concerns in areas addressed by the ETPA, including illegal overcharge, lack of lease renewal, decreased services, and more.

  • Categories of complaint correspond with forms which may be submitted either as fillable PDFs with original, written signatures, or, through completely online applications.

  • Prior to submitting a complaint, tenants should collect all relevant pieces of evidence, which may include paperwork such as cancelled checks, current or previous leases, direct writings to a landlord, etc. Specific pieces are listed on each form.

Tenant Action:

  • Residents of building/complexes may form Tenant Unions or other formal/informal groups, in order to collectively address and take action in securing their rights under the ETPA.

  • Tenants can seek legal counsel through a private law service, a free counseling service for low income individuals, such as Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, or another COK tenant advocacy group.

Described on this page are the various complaint forms tenants may file in order to defend their rights under the ETPA. Read below to select, and file, a tenant complaint under the ETPA.

Need additional help? Contact the Office of Rent Administration at 833-499-0343 or visit https://hcr.ny.gov/city-of-kingston-adopts-etpa or contact the City of Kingston Office Department of Housing Initiatives at 845-334-3928.



ETPA Complaint Forms


RA-89: Tenant's Complaint of Rent and/or Other Specific Overcharges in a Rent Stabilized Apartment

Overview:

  • Form RA-89 primarily covers overcharge complaints. An overcharge complaint is filed by a tenant who believes that an increase of their rent exceeds the annual guideline determined by the Rent Guidelines Board.

  • An illegal overcharge could also fall under a specific category, for example, unapproved collection for building-wide improvements, or illegally imposed fees. Such categories are listed within the form, tenants are prompted to check every category relevant to their situation.

  • Aside from illegal overcharge, RA-89 is also used to report a missing or incorrectly completed unit registration.

Sections:

Other (Use to report a rent overcharge)

  • An overcharge complaint is filed by a tenant who believes that an increase of their rent exceeds the annual guideline determined by the Rent Guidelines Board.

  • Currently, there is no specific category for general rent overcharge on form RA-89. It is recommended that tenants experiencing a rent overcharge check the category "Other" and then provide additional details in the space provided.


Fair Market Rent Appeal (FMRA)

  • The percentage determined by the Rent Guidelines Board guideline applies to the rent amount on a tenant's current, signed lease.

  • Tenants may challenge their initial rent, to which the fair market rent guideline will be annually applied, in a newly rent-stabilized unit, by selecting the "Fair Market Rent Appeal (FMRA) (for Kingston only)" option on form RA-89. Tenants have 90 days, from the day that they receive a copy of their unit registration, to file an FMRA.


Missing Apartment Registrations

  • Under the ETPA, owners are required to individually register the rent stabilized apartments in their buildings.

  • It is also required that each tenant receive a copy of their unit's registration, which includes information such as lease date, legal regulated rent, and provided services. After adoption of the ETPA, tenants receive an initial registration, and following, a new registration annually.

  • If a registration is not delivered, or is incorrectly completed, a tenant has cause to file a complaint.

  • Detailed information can be found under question 6, "Documentation," on page 4 of FACT SHEET 8.


Rent Reduction Order(s)

  • If an owner is found to have made a rent overcharge, reduced and/or refunded rent will be imposed. A rent reduction may also occur after the submission of a services complaint, until the services of concern have been restored.

  • A tenant has cause to file a complaint under "Rent Reduction Order(s)" on form RA-89 if the owner of their unit/building did not comply with an agency order to reduce or refund rent.


Major Capital Improvement (MCI) Increase(s)

  • A temporary rent increase may be approved in buildings which have undergone a Major Capital Improvement (MCI). An MCI is a building-wide improvement, such as replacement of a boiler, plumbing, or roofs.

  • Tenants must be notified when an owner applies for an MCI increase, and are given the opportunity to submit written responses, as part of the approval process.

  • A tenant may report an illegal overcharge under this category if: the MCI was not properly approved, the MCI is incomplete/defective, the building owner did not properly document or calculate costs, etc.

  • A list of specific MCI overcharge scenarios can be found under question 7, page 6 of FACT SHEET 24.


Individual Apartment Improvement (IAI) Increase

  • A temporary rent increase may be approved in units which have undergone an Individual Apartment Increase (IAI). An IAI is an improvement applied to an individual apartment, such as new flooring, new kitchen/bathroom appliances, or new built-in clothing closets.

  • No IAI increase is permitted unless the tenant submits written, informed consent. Tenants must be notified when an owner applies for an IAI increase, and may submit an official form consenting to the improvement/rent increase.

  • A tenant may report an illegal overcharge under this category if: the IAI was not properly approved or consented to, the AIA item is incomplete/defective, the apartment owner did not properly document or calculate costs, etc.

  • Detailed information on IAI increases can be found throughout OPERATIONAL BULLETIN 2016-1.


Security Deposits

  • Under the ETPA, specific regulations are applied to the collection of security deposits, such as: a security deposit cannot exceed the amount of one month's rent, owners cannot require payment of a deposit to reserve an apartment, owners cannot collect a broker's fee, etc.

  • Tenants may file a security deposit complaint if any ETPA required regulations regarding security deposits had not been followed by their landlord.

  • Detailed information on security deposits can be found throughout FACT SHEET 9.


Illegal Fees and/or Surcharges

  • Although there are certain fees, separate from the rent of an apartment, that are lawful to charge tenants under the ETPA, a fee or surcharge that is not permitted under the ETPA is considered an illegal overcharge.

  • Lawful fees include: late fees, fees incurred from a bounced rent check, fees imposed by a government agency, legal fees ordered by a judge in court, etc.

  • Tenants may file a complaint to report that they are being charged fees other than those considered lawful under the ETPA.

  • A detailed list of lawful versus unlawful fees can be found on page 2 of FACT SHEET 44.


Parking Charges

  • Tenants may file a complaint related to parking charges if they believe that their parking charges have increased at a rate exceeding the fair market rent guideline.


RA-90: Tenant's Complaint of Owner's Failure to Renew Lease and/or Failure to Furnish a Copy of a Signed Lease


Overview:

  • Under the ETPA, owners are required to offer tenants a choice of a one or two year renewal lease at the rate set by the Rent Guidelines Board.

  • A tenant may file a lease renewal complaint if they were not offered a lease renewal, if their lease renewal was only offered under changed conditions, if they were not provided proper documentation of their lease renewal, etc.

  • A tenant can file a lease renewal complaint using form RA-90. Detailed information on lease renewal can be found throughout FACT SHEET 4.

Sections:

  • The owner refuses to give me a renewal lease.

  • The owner refuses to give me a lease for __________ years as I requested. The owner offered a lease for __________ years.

  • The owner refuses to offer me a renewal lease on the same terms and conditions as were in my expiring lease. The owner has made changes in the new lease.

  • The owner failed to furnish me with a signed copy of my new or renewal lease.

  • The owner refuses to add my spouse's name on the renewal lease.


RA-81: Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Service(s) - Individual Apartment/RA-84: Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Building-Wide Service(s)


Overview:

  • Under the ETPA, owners are required to continue maintaining equipment and services that were listed in their Initial Apartment Registration and Initial Building Services Registration, and/or all services provided/required to be provided by law as of August 1st, 2022.

  • Required or essential services include repairs, heat, hot/cold water, maintenance, janitorial services, elevator service etc. Detailed information on essential or required services can be found throughout FACT SHEET 3.

  • A tenant may file a services complaint if they experience decreased services or conditions in their apartment/building.

  • There are two forms that could be used to file a services complaint: one for individual apartments, RA-81, and one for building-wide concerns, RA-84. Each is described below. Detailed information on rent reductions for decreased services can be found in FACT SHEET 14.

Sections:

RA-81: Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Service(s) - Individual Apartment -

  • Used if the owner has failed to maintain services/equipment in areas of an individual apartment/unit. Areas of concern can include: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom(s), living room, dining room, hall inside of apartment, etc.

RA-84: Application For A Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased Building-Wide Service(s)

  • Used if the owner has failed to maintain services/equipment in shared areas of a building. Areas of concern can include: Entrance, lobby, hall, staircase, elevator, etc.


RA-60H: Tenant's Statement of Complaint(s) - Harassment

Overview:

  • Harassment includes actions undertaken by an owner to deprive a tenant of their rights under the ETPA. Owners and associated individuals cannot interfere with a tenant's privacy or comfort within an apartment/building.

  • Harassment can take a number of different forms, and can be anything from threats of eviction, to a retributive decrease in services, to unfounded legal action taken against a tenant.

  • To report harassment, tenants can file form RA-60H. Detailed information on harassment can be found throughout FACT SHEET 17.

Sections:

  • I was offered __________ $ by __________ to vacate my apartment by __________. I was threatened with eviction if I refused to vacate my apartment.

  • I was told that essential services would not be provided.

  • I was offered another apartment. After I refused the offer, the services were decreased.

  • I was offered another apartment. After I refused the offer, I have received threats of eviction from __________ .

  • The owner has brought court action against me, the claim against me is unfounded.

  • I have been illegally evicted, "locked-out" or otherwise excluded from my apartment.

  • The owner has intentionally decreased, withheld or interrupted the following services: security, heat, hot water, cold water, electricity, superintendent or janitor etc.


RA-22.1: Tenant Affirmation of Non-Compliance

Overview:

  • A tenant can submit a non-compliance complaint if an owner has failed to comply with an agency directive contained in an order.

  • If issued an order, an owner must comply within 30 days. A non-compliance complaint is usually filed in the case that an owner has not restored decreased services when ordered to do so after a tenant has filed a services complaint.

  • A tenant can file a non-compliance complaint using form RA-22.1.


Page last updated: 08 Dec 2022, 10:00 AM