Eligibility was expanded for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program, which provides a rent freeze to people age 62 or older who live in rent-regulated apartments and whose rent is more than one-third of their income.
Previously, seniors were eligible for the program if their rent was $29,000 or less. The action taken by City Council changes the eligibility cap to $50,000, and was made possible by a provision in the state legislature’s budget passed March 31. The program served 53,000 seniors, and 24,000 more seniors are newly eligible since the change went into effect on July 1.
Under the SCRIE program, when seniors in rent-regulated apartments receive rent increases from their landlords, the tenants do not have to pay the increase, and the landlords receive an equivalent property tax credit.
In order to be eligible for the program you must meet the following criteria:
- A tenant must be age 62 or older;
- Be the head of the household in a rent-regulated unit that is the tenant’s actual residence;
- Total household income for the previous tax year cannot exceed $50,000,
- The tenant’s rent must exceed one-third of income.
Tenants may apply for SCRIE through the New York City Department of Finance at http://nyc.gov/finance. Tenants do not need their landlord’s permission to apply and landlords cannot refuse to participate. After the department reviews the application, tenants will receive a letter of approval or denial. An Approval Order will inform the tenant of the amount of the rent increase exemption and when it begins and ends, and the landlord will receive an Owner Approval Order. The benefit must be renewed every two years or whenever a lease expires, and if a tenant moves to another rent-regulated apartment, then a Portability Application must be filed.
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