HCR Increases Air Conditioner Charge to $29.13 Per Month

The New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) has issued its twenty-sixth annual update of permissible charges for the use and /or initial installation of an air conditioner for both rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments in New York City. As a result of increased electrical costs, the air conditioner surcharge has been increased from $26.83 per month to $29.13 per month or $349.53 per year, effective October 1, 2011 where electricity costs are included in the rent.

The new charge reflects an 8.7% increase in the price of electricity for electrical inclusion buildings as contained in the 2010 Price Index of Operating Costs prepared by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board. For air conditioners installed between October 1, 1985 and September 30, 2010, in rent stabilized apartments in buildings providing electricity, the monthly charge will be increased effective October 1, 2011.

Pursuant to the Rent Act of 2011, where a new air conditioner is purchased and installed by the building owner with the written consent of the rent controlled or rent stabilized tenant, 1/40th of the cost of the unit in buildings that contain 35 units or fewer or 1/60th of the cost in buildings that contain more than 35 units, including any cost of installation but excluding any finance charges, may be included in the base rent. The increase for rent stabilized apartments becomes effective on the first rent payment date following the installation of the air conditioner.

Where the rent controlled or rent stabilized tenant pays for their own electricity, and the tenant installs the air conditioner(s) between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012, a $5 per month per air conditioner charge will be payable to the owner only if the air conditioner(s) protrude beyond the window line.

Except for the 1/40th or 1/60th charge for the owner, purchased and installed air conditioner(s) charges for these appliances do not become part of the base rent for the purpose of computing any guidelines or other increases under the Rent Stabilization Law or Code.

To obtain the charge for rent controlled tenants, owners must apply to the HCR by submitting “Owner’s Notice of a Rent Increase Based on Increased Services/New Furnishings/Equipment/Painting; and Tenant’s Statement of Consent — Owner’s Application for Air Conditioner Charges,” form RA-79B. The charge is not collectible until an order is issued by HCR.

For both rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments, the permissible charge for air conditioners initially installed prior to October 1, 1985 is dependent upon the lawful practice then in effect.

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