Rule 1.17 Amended as of May 18, 1999 - 6/9/99

After a Public Hearing at the May 18, 1999 meeting, the Board added the following subsection, which became effective immediately, to clarify as exempt from Rent Board jurisdiction:


(i) a residential unit, wherein at the inception of the tenancy there was residential use, there is no longer residential use and there is a commercial or other non-residential use. The presumption shall be that the initial use was residential unless proved otherwise by the tenant.

This amendment was proposed by Commissioner Lightner, who said that it is directed at situations where the rent on a unit is so low that a tenant retains the apartment for some other purpose after vacating (i.e., had a home office in the unit, buy a house in the suburbs and keep the apartment for use as an office only; storage for folks who no longer live in the building; etc.). The genesis of this language is that: the original "no consistent residential use" was too vague, and sparked concerns about those tenants who travel, etc. The attempt was to target those situations where the landlord was not complicit from the outset in renting a residential space for some other use but, rather, the tenant later changed the use. Since future owners or tenants in revolving roommate situations who were not party to the original agreement with the owner might not know what the original understanding was, it"ll be up to the tenant to prove that commercial use was always intended when it"s a residential dwelling (in reality this"ll be moot since, if there"s no residential use, there"s no rent control, since there"s no commercial rent control).

There are some persons out there who are under the impression that this requires that the unit be the tenant"s principal place of residence and/or removes "pied a terres"(second homes) from our jurisdiction -- it does not. There is no definition of a tenant"s principle place of residence and this amendment does not address this issue.