On January 31, 2018, DHCR released its annual fuel cost adjustments for rent-controlled apartments. This year, measured prices increased for #2 and #4 heating oil, as well as National Grid of New York Non-Interruptible Gas, Con Edison Non-Interruptible Gas, Con Edison Interruptible Gas and National Grid Non-Interruptible Gas. (see chart below). Prices decreased for National Grid of New York Interruptible Gas, electricity and steam. There was once again no change to the cost of coal.
Please remember that the fuel cost adjustments no longer include the category of #6 heating oil. Pursuant to City law and regulation, no residential building is allowed to burn #6 heating oil as of July 1, 2015. Accordingly, the fuel cost adjustments were amended to exclude this category of heating oil from the annual findings. DHCR will continue this practice for all subsequent years, unless amended by future law and/or regulation.
For the fuel costs that have decreased (National Grid of New York Interruptible Gas, electricity and steam), owners must file for a decrease in the fuel cost adjustment or risk losing the entire adjustment. To file for an adjustment, property owners must complete, certify and serve upon each eligible tenant, a copy of DHCR’s “Owner’s Report, Certification, and Notice of Fuel Cost Adjustment Eligibility” DHCR Form RA-33.10.
An owner must file with DHCR a master copy of the Report, together with Schedule A or B where applicable, and a schedule of monthly rent increases for all the rent-controlled tenants who were served with copies of the Report. The rent adjustment is collectible when the tenant and DHCR are served with the completed Report forms and schedules. Please be advised that no order from the Rent Administrator is required.
Property owners must certify that they are maintaining essential services and that at least 12 months have passed since DHCR ordered a rent restoration for any reduction in rent for failure to provide heat, hot water or other essential services. Buildings that have not qualified for Maximum Base Rent (MBR) increases may be eligible for fuel cost adjustments.
When there are decreases in any fuel category, it is mandatory that owners file the decreases otherwise they may face penalties. Where an owner has obtained one or more fuel cost increase previously and the cost of fuel decreases in a subsequent year, the owner must file a timely report and decrease the tenant’s fuel cost adjustment or the entire fuel cost adjustment will be suspended for that 12-month period.
These fuel cost adjustments are retroactive to January 1, 2018 as long as the owner files the Report within 60 days after the fuel consumption and price change standards are released. For reports filed with DHCR after the 60-day period, the increase is prospective. The deadline for filing “pass-alongs” is April 1, 2018. All building owners who file the 2018 Owner’s Report, Certification and Notice of Fuel Cost Adjustment Eligibility will be required to file online. These must be filed online only. Paper applications are not accepted by DHCR.
To file the form, visit www.nyshcr.org/Rent/ and click on Forms & Applications, then scroll down to Online Services and select Owner’s Report, Certification and Notice of Fuel Cost Adjustment Eligibility. RSA members who cannot obtain the form online can contact an RSA counselor at (212) 214-9200. Technical assistance with the DHCR website is also available by calling (718) 739-6400.
**The Chart above shows increases and decreases for the various fuel types. To calculate rent adjustments, multiply the price change by the actual annual consumption per room (not to exceed the maximum per room for any fuel type). Multiply this amount by 75% and divide by twelve to reach the monthly rent adjustment per room. The last column, “Max per Room/Month,” reflects the maximum amount of the fuel cost adjustment for each fuel type assuming the building had been in the fuel cost adjustment program since the beginning and took all appropriate increases and decreases. Your calculation may show a smaller amount; if it shows a larger amount, you probably miscalculated.