What is a rent freeze?
Typically, the term “rent freeze” refers to a situation in which a tenant’s owed rent amount stabilizes, or remains “frozen,” at a fixed rate for a certain period of time. In such cases a tenant’s rent would not increase accordingly with changes in the economy or housing market (or rather, any increase would be covered while the tenant’s contribution remains the same).
In New York, rent freezes on a wider scale usually apply to tenants living in the City’s 1.1 million rent stabilized apartments. In 2020, New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board, which oversees rents for these apartments, voted to freeze rents on one year leases. Two year leases got a rent freeze on the first year, and a 1% increase on the second year.
Tenants currently enrolled in the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) programs may also be eligible for freezes under New York City’s Rent Freeze Program which “helps those eligible stay in affordable housing by freezing their rent” and covering the difference between the tenant’s owed rent and the actual rent with a property tax credit.