The New York City Council unanimously passed legislation co-sponsored by Council Members Andrew Cohen and Margaret Chin, to extend income eligibility requirements for those who qualify for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption and Disability Rent Increase Exemption programs through the year 2020. An expansion in 2014 raised the annual income eligibility from $29,000 to $50,000, providing rent freezes to tens of thousands more individuals, but due to a technicality, these vital protections could have been lost in the absence of this legislation.
“There is no question that housing costs are rising dramatically in New York City,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen. “The SCRIE/DRIE income threshold must keep pace with the times, or we risk jeopardizing the housing security of our most vulnerable populations. This legislation extends the current income eligibility limits to ensure that our seniors and New Yorkers with disabilities continue to be protected from future rent increases.”
The NYC Rent Freeze Program was established to protect low-income seniors and tenants with disabilities from the rent increases that otherwise are imposed for rent-regulated housing. New Yorkers who meet the income requirements are eligible for benefits under the Rent Freeze Program if they rent an apartment regulated by the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal or within a Mitchell-Lama Development, and spend more than one-third of their monthly household income on rent. For those who qualify, rent is frozen at time of application approval, protecting participants from future increases, and participating landlords receive a property tax credit to cover the increase in rent.