File 2015 Rent Registrations Online by July 31
You must file an Annual Apartment Registration application with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) for every rent-stabilized apartment you own by July 31, 2015. As in past years, the penalty for not filing is stiff: You can’t collect a rent increase—or even apply for one—until you file.
The DHCR is no longer accepting paper submissions, and all annual rent registrations must be submitted through the DHCR’s online “Owner Rent Regulation Applications” system. The system allows you to print tenant forms for distribution, certified rent rolls, and owner receipts. The system can be found at www.nysdhcr.gov/Apps/ORAOwner/ and questions regarding the system can be answered by the DHCR’s Processing Services Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the registration process, the information asked for on the forms is for rents, tenancy, and services in effect on April 1, 2015. Review the following steps to avoid time-consuming errors in the registration process:
Know which apartments are covered. You must submit information during the 2015 apartment registration process for each rent-stabilized apartment that you owned on April 1, 2015. If you bought a building after that date and the prior owner didn’t file a registration for that apartment, you must do so. This includes co-op or condo apartments occupied by rent-stabilized, non-purchasing tenants.
> Temporarily exempt apartments. You also must submit 2015 apartment registration information for apartments that the DHCR considers temporarily exempt from rent stabilization. An apartment may be temporarily exempt from rent stabilization if: (1) it’s used for transient occupancy such as in hotels or single room occupancies; (2) it’s considered a commercial unit rented for business or professional use on April 1; (3) it’s occupied by the building owner or members of his immediate family; (4) it’s occupied by a building employee who isn’t paying rent; or (5) it’s occupied by nonprimary residents or tenants who don’t use the apartment as a primary residence.
> Permanently exempt apartments. You must also register apartments that first qualified as permanently exempt after April 1, 2014. After registering a permanently exempt apartment once, you won’t have to register it again in future years. Some grounds for permanent exemption of apartments from rent stabilization may include high-rent vacancy, luxury deregulation, an apartment that has been substantially rehabilitated since the last annual registration, apartments rented for commercial or professional usage with a certificate of occupancy, or a qualifying expiration of a J-51 or Section 421-a financing program.
Submit two required registrations. In addition to filing the Annual Apartment Registration information for each apartment, you must submit Annual Registration Summary information for each building for which one or more apartment registration forms are being filed.
To fulfill summary information requirements on the online system, once you select the Registration Year from the drop down, a list of buildings that were previously registered using your assigned provider code will be displayed. If you’re a new provider, you’ll need to add all of the appropriate buildings that you’re required to register.
To add a new building, enter the Building ID Number and select the Add button. Verify that the address displayed for the Building ID Number is correct. If the address information is correct, continue with entering the registration information for the building.
If your building is listed, select the building from the list that you need to register by using “Select” under the Options column. Once the building has been selected, the building address information that’s on file with the DHCR will be displayed. Verify that this is the correct information for the building that you’re registering. If the address information is correct, continue with entering the registration information for the building.
To list just a specific building, enter the Building ID Number and use the Select button. If the building was displayed on the original list, it will be displayed by itself on the shortened list. Once you have selected a building, the following tabs will allow you to enter the registration information: The Owner/Managing Agent tab is used to enter/modify Owner and Managing Agent information; the Status/Financing tab is used to enter/modify the Building Status, Building Description, and Financing Programs information; the Units tab is used to enter/modify the Types of Units in Building Detail.
To complete the submission, from the Building List page select the “Submit” option for the building that you’ve completed entering the registration information for and are ready to submit.
If there aren’t any errors in the building’s or the associated apartments’ registration information, you’ll be transferred to the Affidavit and Certification page. Here, you can verify that the correct building has been selected and read the affidavit text carefully.
If you can affirm to the text, select the appropriate “Status of person affirming.” If you select Officer or Partner, you’re required to enter the Name of Corporation or Partnership. Enter your password that you used to log into the Annual Rent Registration system and select the Submit button.
If there are errors in the building’s or associated apartments’ registration information, each error will be listed along with a link to the first tab page for the building or apartment. All errors must be resolved before the building and the associated apartments can be submitted.
The DHCR will return a receipt to the registered owner via the United States Postal Service showing the date received and the apartments registered for the building. Retain the receipt for your records; it will serve as proof of registration.
Deliver forms to tenants. Once the registration information has been submitted, you’re required to print a copy of each apartment’s Annual Apartment Registration and provide it to the tenant who was in occupancy on April 1, 2015. This copy must be hand-delivered or mailed to the tenant.
You can hand-deliver tenants’ copies or send them by regular mail. Although not required, it’s a good idea to get proof of delivery. If a tenant later claims not to have gotten a copy of the form, you’ll be able to show that you sent it.
If you hand-deliver the form, have each tenant sign a statement acknowledging that he got a copy of it. If you use mail delivery, get a certificate of mailing from the post office.
If the tenant in occupancy on April 1 of the registration year isn’t in occupancy at the time of registration, the owner should attempt to forward it to the tenant. If this attempt is unsuccessful, keep the copy together with the postal notice of non-delivery for your records.
To print copies of the Annual Apartment Registrations, select the Forms tab in the upper right of the page. A list of available print options will be listed, such as “print all apartment forms for a building,” and “print a form for a single apartment.” Select the appropriate print option and enter the necessary Building ID Number and/or Apartment Number.
If the apartment was vacant on April 1, 2015, deliver the Apartment Registration Form to the next tenant who moved in. You don’t need to give tenants a copy of the Registration Summary Form.
And you need not deliver the Apartment Registration Form to tenants of permanently or temporarily exempt apartments.
Exception: Local Law 12 of 2000 requires you to deliver the Apartment Registration Form to the first tenant who rents a deregulated high-rent apartment. Once you deliver the form to the tenant, you don’t have to continue to do so in future years.
In addition to delivering the registration notice, the Rent Code Amendments of 2014 require an owner to provide the first tenant of an apartment deregulated pursuant to High-Rent Vacancy with a notice (HRVD-N) created by the DHCR that details the last legal regulated rent, the reason for deregulation, and calculations of the rent qualifying for deregulation. This notice must be sent by certified mail within 30 days after the tenancy commences or after the signing of the lease by both parties, whichever occurs first, or must be delivered to the tenant at the signing of the lease.
Report change of ownership/managing agent. If there’s a change of ownership or managing agent after the annual registration forms have been submitted, the successor owner must notify the DHCR within 30 days by filing a Report of Change in Identity of Owner/Agent [RA-44].
The rent regulations provide for a retroactive “rent freeze” for failure to comply with the annual rent registration requirements. But the late filing of a registration will result in the prospective elimination of this penalty.
The rent regulations provide that where all rent increases were lawful but for the owner’s failure to register, and where the owner files and serves upon the tenant a late registration, the DHCR shall not thereafter find that the owner has collected an overcharge at any time prior to the filing of the late registration.
But this late filing must be done before a tenant files a rent overcharge complaint. If the late registration is filed after the filing of a rent overcharge complaint, the DHCR assesses the owner a late-filing surcharge for each apartment affected and may impose a penalty of up to $250 on owners for each knowing violation of the rent regulations.