Tenant Advocates Target Non-Rent Fees for Rent-Stabilized Apartments

A group of advocates and state Assembly members recently called for the end of certain fees owners are legally allowed to charge rent-stabilized tenants to bump up the amount of money they collect every month. These levies include a $5 monthly charge per appliance for having an air conditioner, for example, or a roughly $16 monthly fee for a washing machine.

The group, which includes the Urban Justice Center and a coalition called Fees Are Fraud, recently held a rally at City Hall alleging that owners use these fees to put financial pressure on tenants in an effort to eventually push them out of their rent-regulated apartments. The groups rallying at City Hall released the results of a survey conducted at numerous buildings across the city showing that a number of tenants had hundreds of dollars in non-rent fees.

The amount and nature of charges that landlords are allowed to impose on tenants are dictated by state law. The rules were written to compensate owners of rent-regulated buildings for extra expenses, such as water bills from washing-machine use.