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NYC Department of Finance Releases 2022 Annual Rent Freeze Report, Launches Five-Borough Outreach Initiative to Increase Rent Freeze Benefit Enrollments for Eligible Seniors and New Yorkers with Disabilities 

Annual Rent Freeze Report shows steady growth in the benefits program since 2014 until a decline in enrollments in 2020 due largely to the effects of COVID-19 Pandemic

Starting in November, eligible New Yorkers can get free, one-on-one support weekly to enroll in NYC’s rent freeze program and other DOF administered services at all five DOF Business Centers in each borough 

New York, NY – The New York City Department of Finance today released its 2022 Annual Report on the New York City Rent Freeze Program and announced expanded outreach efforts to enroll more eligible seniors and New Yorkers with disabilities in the Rent Freeze Program, which protects eligible tenants living in affordable housing from future rent increases. Beginning in November, DOF’s Outreach Unit will hold walk-in enrollment hours weekly at DOF’s five Business Centers located in each borough in addition to continuing its regular enrollment services. New Yorkers can also schedule an appointment here to visit a Department of Finance Assistance Center. Virtual appointments will also be made available.

"The SCRIE and DRIE programs are critical tools that ensure seniors and New Yorkers with disabilities can continue to afford their rent," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. "Through these expanded outreach efforts, we aim to spread awareness of the program to enroll more eligible participants, and ensure our city remains affordable and accessible for our most vulnerable New Yorkers."

“Ensuring that the most vulnerable New Yorkers are not forgotten is crucial to the economic success and long-term recovery of our City. While the 2022 Report on the New York City Rent Freeze Program shows that tens of thousands of seniors and New Yorkers with disabilities continue to depend on this important benefit to prevent their rent from going up, save money, and stay in their homes, it also revealed the first decline in enrollments in recent years in 2020,” said Department of Finance Commissioner Preston Niblack. “This reflects the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a particular impact on the vulnerable population the Rent Freeze Program is designed to serve and underscores our need to expand outreach efforts and provide more opportunities for eligible New Yorkers to enroll and renew in Rent Freeze benefits. That is why DOF is dedicating more staff and holding open enrollment events at each of our five Business Centers in addition to maintaining regular enrollment services. We will continue to work to strengthen the Rent Freeze Program and reach more New Yorkers who would benefit from the assurance that their rent will stay affordable.” 

Starting in November, DOF staff will be at each of the DOF Business Centers weekly to assist with enrolling or renewing rent freeze benefits. See the chart below for exact locations, dates, and times: 
66 John Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10038
Tuesdays, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
144-06 94th Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11435
Mondays, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
3030 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor Bronx, NY 10455
Cross Street: 156th Street
Thursdays, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Business Center 
350 St. Marks Place #301
Staten Island, NY 10301
Tuesdays, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Brooklyn Municipal Building
210 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201  
Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Background/2022 Rent Freeze Report:
The NYC Rent Freeze Program, which includes the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) Program and the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) Program, helps those eligible stay in affordable housing by freezing their rent, potentially saving them hundreds of dollars a month as long as they remain in the program. The longer the individual remains in the program, the higher their benefits will be over time, due to increases in what the landlord could legally charge per the NYC Rent Guidelines Board. This makes renewing rent freeze benefits crucial to the success of the program and ensure New Yorkers receive their maximum possible benefit. 

Per the 2022 Rent Freeze Report, on average, SCRIE and DRIE recipients who have been enrolled in the Rent Freeze Program for five to ten years save between $176 and $191 a month respectively. For recipients in the program for ten to fifteen years, that benefit increases to an average of $307 for SCRIE recipients and $340 a month for DRIE recipients.

Chart showing average monthly benefit amount in 2020

The number of SCRIE and DRIE recipients had been increasing steadily since 2014, with the number of recipients growing by 6.9% from 2014-2020. While pre-pandemic outreach efforts had gone a long way toward enrolling more New Yorkers in the program, enrollments declined in 2020 following the significant disruptions and hardships rendered by COVID-19.

Between 2016 and 2019, the number of Rent Freeze households in New York City increased each year, from 72,299 in 2016 to a high of 75,515 in 2019. In 2020, the total number decreased by 5.1% to a total of 71,665 households, 59,862 of which received SCRIE benefits and 11,803 of which received DRIE benefits. For 2019, the most recent year for which eligibility estimates are available, a total of 135,111 households were eligible for the Rent Freeze Program. The average age of benefit recipients in 2020 was 77 for SCRIE and 62 for DRIE, and average household size was 1.5 persons for both SCRIE and DRIE. The average number of years that recipients stayed in the program ranged from 7.2 years on Staten Island to 8.5 years in the Bronx and between 9.0 and 9.6 years in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. A higher number of years in the program correlates with a higher average monthly benefit amount.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of Rent Freeze recipients also started failing to renew their benefits or respond to requests from DOF for additional information. As a result, DOF has adjusted its policies to keep all application statuses active for those who have not completed the application process. DOF has also been providing several reminder notices to encourage tenants to complete these processes. In addition, the agency will continue working with its many public and private sector partners to encourage tenants to complete the application process to secure their benefits, as well as reaching out to encourage more eligible households to apply for and enroll in the program.

Rent Freeze program eligibility requirements can be found below: 

SCRIE Eligibility: 
  • Age: 62 or older.
  • Combined household income: $50,000 or less.
  • More than one-third of the monthly household income must be spent on rent.
  • In addition to residing in an eligible unit, the applicant must be named on the rent order or have succession rights.
  • Residence in an apartment that is rent-regulated or subject to the Private Housing Finance Law. 

DRIE Eligibility:
  • Age: 18 or older.
  • Combined household income: $50,000 or less.
  • More than one-third of the monthly household income must be spent on rent.
  • In addition to residing in an eligible unit, the applicant must be named on the rent order or have succession rights.
  • The applicant must have been awarded Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, disability-related Medicaid, or a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or United States Postal Service disability pension or disability compensation.
  • Residence in an apartment that is rent-regulated or subject to the Private Housing Finance Law.

The full 2022 Report on the NYC Rent Freeze Program can be found here