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New York Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

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New York Landlord-Tenant Law: FAQs

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.

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 the 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.

What a landlord Cannot do in New York?

Landlords are not permitted to harass or retaliate against tenants who exercise their legal rights. Landlords, for example, may not seek eviction solely because tenants: Make good faith complaints to a government agency about violations of any health or safety laws.

In New York, when can a landlord evict a tenant?

A tenant in New York can be evicted for failing to pay rent or for violating the lease or rental agreement. For one of these reasons, a tenant may have a defense available to challenge an eviction.

Can you evict a tenant in NY in 2022?

Yes. A landlord in New York can evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent in 2022.

The process for evicting a tenant for nonpayment of rent in New York is as follows: the landlord must give the tenant a written notice to pay the rent or vacate the premises within a certain number of days (usually three). If the tenant does not pay the rent or vacate within that time, then the landlord can file an eviction proceeding in court. The court will then schedule a hearing, and if the court finds that the tenant did not pay the rent, then it will order the tenant to vacate.

Can a landlord evict you for no reason in NY?

A landlord cannot terminate a tenancy without cause. If the landlord does not have grounds for an eviction, he or she must wait until the lease or rental period expires before asking or expecting the tenant to leave. However, the landlord may still be required to give the tenant notice.

In New York, can you evict a tenant who does not have a lease?

If you don’t have a written lease and pay rent monthly, or if your written lease is month-to-month, you can be evicted only if: You owe rent and have been served with a 14-day demand (If the tenant is renting from a manufactured home park, thirty-day demand is required).

How much does evicting a tenant in New York cost?

The fee for performing an eviction is $140. The amount that you will also need to pay your lawyer, if you choose to hire one, will vary depending on the lawyer’s rate. Generally, evictions take between 3-6 months to complete, so be prepared to pay at least a few thousand dollars in legal fees.

How much may my landlord in New York increase my rent?

Your landlord has no limit on how much he can raise your rent. However, your landlord must provide you with advanced written notice before raising your rent by 5% or more. This also applies to month-to-month tenants who do not have a lease.

Is a 3-day eviction notice legal in NY?

In cases of nonpayment of rent, the New York eviction process requires a 3-Day Demand for Rent.

What is considered landlord harassment in New York State?

Harassment is defined as conduct by a landlord that directly or indirectly interferes with or is intended to interfere with, your privacy, comfort, and enjoyment of your dwelling under New York State’s Rent Regulation Laws.

What is an illegal eviction in NY?

A landlord who tries to illegally evict a tenant may be charged with a criminal misdemeanor. It is illegal for your landlord to try to evict you by changing the locks, disconnecting your utilities, or removing your belongings from the apartment. If your landlord wishes to evict you, they must take you to court.

Can a tenant sue the landlord for emotional distress in New York?

If a landlord’s intentional or negligent actions cause severe emotional harm, the tenant may have options. They could then sue the landlord for emotional distress. They have the right to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

How does a tenant report a landlord in New York State?

A tenant may file a complaint with NYS Homes & Community Renewal (NYSHCR) at www.hcr.ny.gov if the tenant is rent-controlled or rent-stabilized. If the complaint is found to be valid, the landlord will be required to make the necessary changes. Application forms can be obtained from my community office or your nearest HCR office.

What can the tenant sue the landlord for in NY?

A tenant can sue your landlord in housing court to compel them to make the repairs. This is a “Housing Part” case, also known as an “HP action” or “HP case.” An HP action is a lawsuit a tenant file against their landlord when he or she refuses to make repairs or provide services.

In New York, can a tenant withhold rent for repairs?

If the tenant has given the landlord notice of the repairs but the landlord has failed to complete them, the tenant may withhold rent until the repairs are completed. The rent must be set aside and not spent by the tenant.

Is New York a landlord or tenant-friendly state?

Rents in New York are typically higher than in other states, making it a landlord-friendly state. It’s also considered a tenant-friendly state due to the prevalence of rent control clauses, so landlords must identify and analyze them for their lease agreement documents.

Landlord’s Rights & Obligations in New York

The landlord is responsible for making sure the rental property is habitable and in good condition when it comes to a lease. The landlord typically cannot remove a tenant if the apartment is uninhabitable and they are not paying rent since they have a duty to maintain livable conditions.

Additionally, if a tenant files a reasonable request for a repair, the landlord is required to reply. The tenant has the option to withhold rent, use their “Repair and Deduct” rights, or seek legal counsel if the landlord does not make the necessary repairs. They can fix the problem on their own and subtract the expense from their upcoming rent payments if they exercise their right to repair and deduct. The courts typically favor the tenant if they had a reasonable repair that you should have done, despite the landlord’s temptation to resist this.

In general, every landlord is required to offer the following:

  • Outlets in good working order.
  • Protection against insects, pests, and mold (exterminator, etc…)
  • Secure the doors and windows.
  • With a minimum temperature of 120 degrees, hot water. applicable to a variety of housing units).
  • Icy water (applicable for multiple dwelling units).
  • A working plumbing system.

Similarly, landlords can have the authority to access rented properties in an emergency, deduct damages from security deposits, and more. It’s crucial for landlords to review their local legislation because certain areas, like New York City, have their own unique laws and rules.

Tenant’s Rights & Obligations in New York

Generally speaking, tenants in New York are accountable for:

  • Avoiding upsetting their neighbors (no noise complaints for example)
  • On-time  rent payment
  • Preserving the apparatus’s condition
  • Upkeep of the apparatus (like changing their AC filter)
  • Maintaining the utilities in excellent functioning order
  • Maintaining the property’s cleanliness both inside and out

Tenants, on the other hand, are free to use their housing rights whenever they see fit. This includes the right to reside in a livable rental unit and protection for tenants against harassment, retribution, and other forms of discrimination.

Disclosure: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord-tenant law. The 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.

Image Provided by Tourist Maker – Image link: https://www.touristmaker.com/blog/100-sights-in-usa/

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