DHCR recently issued and/or revised several documents to provide guidance to owners and tenants:
• Policy Statement 2017-1, dated October 12, 2017, titled Eligibility of Certain Non-Construction Costs to be Included as Part of an MCI
• Owner’s Application to Restore Rent (RTP-19 (8/17))
• Fact Sheet #45 for Building Owners: Housing Rights of Foreign-Born Tenants
• Immigration Status, Housing Discrimination, and Tenant Harassment Frequently Asked Questions
Major Capital Rent Increases (MCI) Policy Statement 2017-1 (October 12, 2017)
According to DHCR, the “Policy Statement is being issued to set forth DHCR’s policies regarding the inclusion of certain types of non-construction expenses in the total approved amount of a Major Capital Improvement (MCI)....” The Policy Statement addresses three subjects, namely, professional fees, municipal fees and sales tax and the mobilization costs, profit and overhead for the contractor.
Professional fees such as architectural, engineering or other consulting fees may be included in the total approved amount of an MCI if “the underlying MCI-qualifying work involves a complexity substantiating the need for an architect’s engineer’s or consultant’s expertise.” According to DHCR, examples where such costs will be allowed include work correcting significant structural defects, obtaining Landmark Commission approval, façade work required under Local Law 11, or where the Buildings Department requires plans.
With regard to City fees and sales taxes, owners must set forth all of the costs associated with building permit applications and municipal sign-offs relating to the MCI, those costs are not MCI-eligible expenses.
Mobilization costs are those costs attributable to the delivery of materials and equipment to the job site. According to DHCR, a “reasonable” amount of mobilization costs may be included in the approved MCI costs. Further, where the contracted work involves a separate line item for a contractor’s profit and overhead, a “reasonable” amount may be included. Unfortunately for owners, what is “reasonable” will depend upon the particulars of each project and owners will not know in advance what will satisfy DHCR.
The Policy Statement can be viewed on DHCR’s website.
Owner’s Application to Restore Rent (RTP-19 (8/17))
The Owner’s Application to Restore Rent (RTP-19) was revised in August. The application now requires the owner to list the name of the current tenant and to provide a mailing label for the current tenant.
The Statement and Affirmation of Owner must include the status of the person submitting the affirmation (president, individual owner, partner, etc.). If the building is owned by a corporation or partnership, the application must include the name of the corporation or partnership.
The affirmation contained in Part C of the form now includes a statement that the person signing the affirmation understands that false statements are punishable as a misdemeanor. The document can be viewed on DHCR’s website.
Fact Sheet #45 and FAQS for Building Owners: Housing Rights of Foreign-Born Tenants
As reported in the October edition of the RSA Reporter, Fact Sheet #45 and the related FAQs summarize the provisions of the Fair Housing Act and the State Human Rights Law that prohibit owners from refusing to rent to, and interfering with the rights of, tenants and potential tenants on the basis of certain characteristics, such as being foreign born.
The new fact sheet and FAQs provides several examples of activities that are prohibited, which include turning off the tenant’s heat in the winter or refusing to make repairs because the tenant is from another country. To view Fact Sheet #45 and all other DHCR Fact Sheets, you may visit RSA’s website.
Lastly, DHCR recently rolled out a new home page for the Office of Rent Administration, which is more user-friendly and offers the option to translate the page into one of 104 languages. A link to the ORA web page is available on RSA’s website under the resources.