The renewal leases that are being sent to formerly market-rate tenants can be confusing because they state a “legal rent” on the cover page and can be read as if that is the rent you are being asked to pay. But there is usually a lower “preferential rent” on the attached “Renewal Lease Form.” The “preferential rent” is the ACTUAL rent you are being asked to pay. When you receive your renewal lease, please make sure to review this section of the Renewal Lease Form—boxes 5 and 6 will refer to the preferential rent—to see the actual rent you will be charged during the term of your renewed lease.
The attorneys for the Roberts case also note that if the case is resolved and the legal rents are re-set during the term of your lease, if the re-set legal rent for your unit is less than the “preferential rent” you agree to in this renewal lease, your rent may be reduced to the correct, legal rent. On the other hand, in the event that it is determined that the legal rent is in fact higher than the “lower rent to be charged” (that is, the preferential rent) specified in the renewal lease, the Owners have represented that the tenant will still only be charged the lower rent for the duration of the lease term, at which point the owners could, upon renewal, ask for a rent up to the correct legal rent. In other words, if a tenant is comfortable paying the “lower rent to be charged,” they can renew their lease knowing that such amount will be the maximum that they will pay during the renewal lease period, subject to the terms of the Rent Guidelines and Rent Increase Eligibility Rider provided with the renewal lease.