Similar to other states, New York landlords and tenants are governed by various laws. These laws outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties. As a landlord, having knowledge and understanding of these laws can help you avoid having issues with your tenants which can be timely and costly. Keep reading for an overview of these laws and how they apply to you:
Basic Rights & Responsibilities of New York Tenants
All New York tenants have some basic rights and responsibilities. For example, they have the right to:
- Enjoy their unit peacefully.
- Receive written receipts for their security deposit and rent payments.
- Receive a written notice from the landlord in regards to any changes to the lease agreement.
- Live in a habitable property that adheres to all relevant health and safety codes.
- Receive a rent freeze on one-year and two-year leases as per the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB).
- Form a tenant’s association with other residents in the apartment to advocate for their rights.
New York tenants also have some basic responsibilities, including:
- Making prompt rent payments.
- Taking good care of the property and reporting maintenance requests to the landlord in a timely matter.
- Notifying the landlord when they are out of town for an extended period of time.
- Notifying the landlord when looking to move out of the property.
- Not disturbing the peace and quiet in the property.
- Abiding by all the terms of the lease agreement.
Rights & Responsibilities of New York Landlords
Similar to tenants, New York landlords also have a set of basic rights and responsibilities. As a landlord, you have the right to:
- Have access to the property to carry out your responsibilities as a landlord. For example, to show the property to prospective tenants or to inspect the unit for violations of the lease agreement.
- Receive a written notification when a tenant seeks to move out of the property or otherwise terminate their lease agreement.
- Use all or part of the tenant’s deposit to pay for any property damages exceeding normal wear and tear.
- Screen all potential tenants that have expressed interest to live in their properties.
While enjoying these rights, landlords also have the responsibility to:
- Follow the legal process when removing a tenant from their property.
- Treat all tenants equally and fairly without any discrimination.
- Disclose any crucial information to tenants prior to having them sign the lease agreement.
- Provide tenants with a safe and habitable property that meets all NY safety codes.
- Abide by the terms of the lease agreement.
Required Landlord Disclosures
Prior to either party signing the lease agreement, New York landlords are required to make certain information known to prospective tenants. These disclosures include:
- Details regarding the use, storage, and return of a tenant’s security deposit.
- Rights for domestic violence victims. For example, their right to terminate the lease agreement.
- The name and address of any person authorized to act and perform the roles of the landlord on behalf of them.
- The presence of health hazards in the property that may impact a tenant’s health, including mold, radon, bed bugs, and lead-based paint.
- Details in regards to shared utility arrangements. For instance, who is responsible for water, gas, garbage, etc.
Overview of NY Landlord-Tenant Laws
1. Withholding Rent
All tenants in New York have a right to live in a habitable rental property that meets the state’s health, safety, and building codes. If you fail to provide a property that meets these requirements to your tenant, your tenant will have several options.
One option is to make the repairs on their own and make appropriate deductions for them from the rent. Their other option is to withhold their monthly rent payment until you make the necessary repairs.
2. New York Landlord-Tenant Law: Security Deposits
While not required by law in New York, some landlords do require security deposits from their tenants. They do this because a security deposit will help cushion them against any financial ruin occurring as a result of a tenant’s lease violation.
Examples of a tenant’s lease violations include:
- Failure to pay their rent.
- Breaking their lease agreement early.
- Failure to settle their utility bills prior to moving out.
- Excessively damaging the property.
- Abandoning the property.
While the landlord does have the right to require a security deposit, tenants do have some rights in regard to these deposits. For example, New York landlords must notify their tenants in writing upon receiving their security deposit. Landlords must also return the deposit within a certain time period at the end of the tenancy. For more about the New York security deposit law, click here.
3. Anti-Discrimination Laws
Landlords must treat all tenants, both existing and prospective, equally and fairly based on the protected classes. At the federal level, all tenants are protected against discrimination based on the 7 protected classes. These classes are race, color, national origin, religion, gender, familial status, and disability.
New York has it’s own state laws that include more protected classes from discrimination. These include citizenship status, political activity, prior convictions, domestic violence, use of a service dog, military status, genetic characteristics, and gender identity.
4. Landlord Entry
Landlords have the right to access a rented unit. That said, the law requires them to provide written notice to their tenant prior to entry. This notice must include several statements, including the reason for entry and time of entry. Justifiable reasons for entry include:
- When looking to make requested or agreed-upon repairs.
- When pursuing a court order.
- During an emergency.
- When showing the property to prospective renters, lenders, or buyers.
- When the landlord believes the tenant has abandoned the unit.
Except during an emergency or when the property has been abandoned, a landlord is required by law to notify the tenant in writing prior to their desired entry. The time of entry must also be within reason. For example, between 8 AM and 5 PM during weekdays, and between 11 PM and 3 PM during weekends. A landlord who fails to do this may run into the issue of having a tenant file a harassment lawsuit against them.
5. Small Claims Courts
Conflicts involving security deposits are fairly common in New York. For example, a tenant may not be happy with how much a landlord has deducted from the deposit to cover damages or unpaid utilities. On occasion, these conflicts may end up in a small claims court. In such cases, the New York Small Claims Courts will hear lawsuits amounting up to a dollar amount of $10,000.
If you are a new landlord and don’t fully understand the tenancy laws, Essential Property Management can help. We can also help you find tenants, collect rent, maintain your property, and all other landlord responsibilities. Get in touch with us today!