There is no official list somewhere that definitively tells the world which apartments are subject to Rent Stabilization and which are not.
The New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (“DHCR”) has jurisdiction over matters relating to Rent Stabilization and the DHCR maintains some records. But, the records that the DHCR maintains contain information that is largely self-reported by landlords and that is not controlling with regard to an apartment’s Rent Stabilization status. Therefore, year after year, a landlord can report to the DHCR that an apartment is “permanently exempt,” but that does not make it so.
Moreover, a current or former tenant may have signed a document acknowledging that an apartment is not subject to Rent Stabilization – but this, also, does not make it so. Parties may not contract in or out of Rent Stabilization coverage. Thornton v. Baron, 5 N.Y.3d 175 (2005).
How do you ever get a definitive answer on an apartment’s Rent Stabilization status? With some exceptions, the last word on whether an apartment is Rent Stabilized is in the hands of the courts or the DHCR. Until a judge is satisfied that an apartment is not Rent Stabilized, the matter is always, in some measure, unsettled.
Why is this so complicated? Because it is.
The information that I need to answer the question is never altogether in one place. I have to look six or seven places to pull the information together that I need to answer the question properly.
There rules are not simple. There is the Rent Stabilization Law and the Rent Stabilization Code, and they are complicated. The Law and Code have been amended many times in 45 years, and not always elegantly. Then, the Law and Code have been interpreted and re-interpreted for 45 years by the DHCR, the Civil and Supreme Courts in five boroughs, the two Appellate Divisions that cover New York City, and the Court of Appeals countless times, giving rise to exceptions and exceptions to exceptions .... There are disagreements between these authorities. There are areas in flux.