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State Landlord Tenant Law

New York Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

by Editor | ezLandlordForms

May I charge an application fee?
Reasonable cost should always be kept in mind when instituting any charges. Although there are no limits placed on the amount a landlord can charge for an application fee; $25 seems to be the standard.

How much can I charge for rent?
Where an apartment is not subject to rent stabilization, rent control or other rent regulation, a landlord is free to charge any rent agreed upon by both the parties. Additionally, the landlord is required to give written receipt to all tenants upon payment of rent when paid by any means other than by check.

In New York City and certain communities in Nassau, Rockland, and Westchester counties where rent stabilization laws apply, the landlord may not charge more than the legal-regulated rent. If the apartment is subject to such rent regulation, the rent and subsequent rent increases are set by law.

May I charge a late fee?
As long as the late charge is specified within the lease; there are no limits imposed. Although, any late charge or fee should not be disproportionate to the amount of damages or costs imposed on a landlord as a result of the late payment. High-priced fees whether charged per day or as a flat fee may be seen as a penalty. A judge may overturn such an exorbitant fee as unconscionable which goes against New York State Law Article 7 : 235c.

May I charge a returned payment fee?
According to New York Laws: General Obligations-Title 3 § 5-328-2(a), as long as specified in the lease, a dishonored check charge may be charged but not be more than $20.

Is there a limit on the amount I may collect for a security deposit?
There is no statutory limit placed on the amount that may be charged for a security deposit, but it’s fairly common to accept an amount equal to 1 months rent.

Please Note: The security deposit for a rent regulated apartment is usually limited by law to 1 month’s rent.

  • If the apartment is in a building with 6 or more units, the landlord is required by law to place the security deposit in a separate interest bearing bank account in New York State and notify the tenant concerning the bank in which it’s being held. The landlord may keep 1% of the amount deposited per year for administrative expenses, the remaining interest is to be paid annually to the tenant or left to accumulate.

After my tenant has moved, how long do I have to send the security deposit back?
The landlord must return the security deposit, less any lawful deduction, to the tenant at the end of the lease or within a reasonable time thereafter. If damage was done, the landlord may apply part or all of the security deposit to the cost of repairs.

What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage, as well as including repair receipts and pictures.

What are the rules for ending a Lease Agreement?
Month to Month: Rental properties located outside the city of New York may be terminated by the landlord or the tenant upon notifying the other at least one month before the expiration of the term; provided, however, that no notification shall be necessary to terminate a tenancy for a definite term.

Apartments with Rent Regulation: have different requirements to renew a lease. Landlords should check with an attorney or the DHCR to ensure they are in compliance.

How much notice do I have to give a tenant in order to evict them?
If the tenant has defaulted in the payment of rent, pursuant to the agreement under which the premises are held, a demand of the rent must be made, with at least 3 Days’ Notice in writing requiring the payment of rent, or possession of the premises.

How long does it usually take for eviction?
It depends and varies, but could take approximately 4-6 weeks to obtain possession.

My tenant has not paid his rent and I served him notice. What do I do next?
Landlord/Tenant laws in New York are amongst the most complex in the nation. It is highly recommended that you contact the Rent Stabilization Association (212) 214-9200 or the Small Property Owners of New York (212) 410-4600 for advice on how to proceed.

Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable. In New York victims of domestic violence, senior citizens and military personnel and their family may be released from a lease when specific criteria is met.< br> What must I do to inspect my property? Do I have to notify the tenant?
There is no statute that defines a landlord’s right of entry, however both Rent Control and Rent Stabilization laws contain limited entry provisions. It is important for the landlord in those circumstances to contact the appropriate housing agency for the applicable rules.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the lease.

How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.

Can I require my tenants to obtain renter’s insurance?
Landlords may not require tenants to obtain rental insurance and cannot make the failure to do so a breach of the lease.

Aside from the lease agreement, are there any additional documents necessary?
If the leased premises was constructed prior to 1978(or prior to January 1, 1960 within New York City Limits), the landlord must provide all tenants with the Lead-Based Paint EPA Disclosure and the Lead-Based Paint EPA Pamphlet.

Disclosure: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Additional New York rental resources can be found here, and NY landlords and property managers can also ask legal questions in our rental expert forum.

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