Requiring Renter's Insurance for Rent-Stabilized Apartment
Q Can an owner, as a condition of renting a rent-stabilized apartment, require a tenant to carry renter's insurance?
A No, according to a DHCR opinion letter dated May 19, 2009. Requiring renter's insurance would violate RSC Section 2525.2(a), which states that the legal regulated rents provided in the Rent Stabilization Code “shall not be evaded, either directly or indirectly, in connection with the renting or leasing or the transfer of a lease for housing accommodation by requiring the tenant to pay, or obligate himself or herself for membership or other fees…”
Also, it would appear that requiring a tenant to carry renter's insurance would violate RSC Section 2525.3(a), which says that “no owner or other person shall require a tenant or prospective tenant to purchase or lease furniture or other personal property… as a condition of renting housing accommodations.” The DHCR letter points out that the term “personal property” includes insurance policies and notes that an owner's insurance costs are among the factors considered by the Rent Guidelines Board in establishing annual guidelines for rent adjustments. Therefore, a requirement that tenants must purchase renter's insurance most likely would be deemed unfair.
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