Want to find out if your apartment is rent stabilized, or was? You’ll have to get your unit’s rent history record from the state’s Housing and Community Renewal agency, or HCR.
- The simplest way is to request your rent history through HCR’s online portal by clicking here, then choosing “Apartment Rent History” and filling out your apartment’s information. Your rent history will be printed and mailed to your address.
- Another option: The nonprofit tenant advocacy group JustFix built a tool that will request your rent history from HCR for you. Tenants can text “RENT HISTORY” to (855) 610-2450 or fill out this online form.
The above methods are the easiest ways to get your rent history, tenant advocates say. But getting your rent history in person works, too, if you need it fast or can’t access the online form.
To go in person, make an appointment to visit an HCR rent administration office. The locations and telephone numbers for each office can be found here. You will need to bring a photo ID and proof of tenancy. That could be a copy of your lease or a rent receipt or a utility bill. Be prepared to complete a records request form when you get there.
You can also request your rent history by email or mail — directions can be found here — but experts THE CITY spoke with said doing it in person or through the online portal are your best bets.
Keep in mind: if your apartment was never rent stabilized at any point, the HCR will not have a rent history for you. If you’re unsure, it’s worth checking! It doesn’t cost anything to request a rent history, and you’re in a unique position to get the document; only a current tenant or landlord of a unit can ask for it from HCR.
What do you do with your rent history once you’ve got it — or if you think you’ve been overcharged? JustFix’s Rent History 101 or Overcharges Guide from the Met Council on Housing may help. But it can sometimes be difficult to interpret what your legal rent should be without legal consultation — and a lawyer may be in the best position to help.
“People don’t really realize what they should be looking for,” says Corinthia Carter, a tenant attorney who spent from 2014 to 2020 fighting her own rent overcharge case.
If you decide to seek legal counsel from a housing attorney or tenant rights group, Legal Aid and Legal Services offer consultations as well as legal clinics for low-income New Yorkers. The NYC Bar Association also offers an online form and phone number (212-626-7373 or 917-832-1927 for Spanish) for requesting a legal consult.
But bear in mind: A 2020 state Court of Appeals decision limited how far back tenants can challenge rent overcharges. That means that if you think an overcharge occurred in your apartment more than four years ago, it will likely be difficult to recoup unless you could show clear evidence of fraud.