New York, NY – A longtime thorn in the paw of rent stabilized tenants has been removed by a newly signed law from Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and State Senator Robert Jackson. The duo, who have previously collaborated on pro-tenant bills to hasten court-mandated repairs in apartments buildings, successfully won a signature from Governor Kathy Hochul on November 21, 2022. The law will take effect immediately.
Previously, landlords were authorized to impose surcharges to rent stabilized tenants who installed their own air conditioners — even if the tenant were also paying for their own electricity. Oftentimes, these charges were assessed per air conditioner unit, which in older buildings often entailed a separate unit for each room of an apartment. Tenant advocates decried this practice as a way for landlords to circumvent rent stabilization requirements in order to extract more money from renters.
Under the new law, tenants who pay for their own electricity and install their own air conditioners cannot be charged for their air conditioner unit. Building owners who provide and install an air conditioner, or who pay for the tenants’ use of electricity, may still impose surcharges for such devices.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “Tenants were being charged multiple times for the same thing, and that just isn’t fair. If someone goes out and buys their own air conditioner, and then they install it themselves or pay someone to install it themselves, and they pay for the electricity to power the air conditioner, then why should the landlord get money for doing nothing at all? This is a common sense bill, and I am pleased that Governor Hochul has signed it into law. Thank you to my colleague, State Senator Robert Jackson, for helping get this bill passed in the State Senate so that we can help the millions of rent stabilized tenants in New York.”
State Senator Robert Jackson said: “Programs that reduce costs for rent-burdened New Yorkers are essential. This bill will end the landlord's practice of charging tenants a fee for installing A/C units. Fees for tenant-installed appliances are ridiculous. They merely serve as back-door mechanisms for landlords of rent-stabilized buildings to raise their profits. Eliminating non-rent fees will help reduce the strain New Yorkers feel every day. In the spirit of rent reforms and affordable housing policies, this is another win in favor of millions of working-class New Yorkers. I am pleased that Governor Hochul has signed it into law, and I am thankful to my colleague Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz for his partnership and work in getting this passed at the State Assembly.”