Landlord Rights In New York – All You Need To Know

by ECL Writer
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As a landlord in New York, it is essential to know your rights and responsibilities to protect your property and investment. The state has specific laws and regulations that govern landlord-tenant relationships, and failing to comply with them can lead to costly legal battles. Understanding your rights as a landlord in New York can help you avoid common pitfalls and make informed decisions about managing your rental property. In this article, will discuss the fundamental rights of landlords in New York and how they can exercise them while also respecting the rights of tenants. Whether you are a new or seasoned landlord, this guide will provide you with valuable information to help you navigate the landlord-tenant landscape in New York.

Is New York A Landlord-Friendly State?

New York is generally considered to be a tenant-friendly state, as it has a vast array of laws that protect tenants from eviction, ensure safe and habitable housing conditions, and regulate rent increases. However, that does not necessarily mean that New York is hostile to landlords. The state has a legal framework that recognizes and protects the property rights of landlords.

For example, New York law allows landlords to collect a security deposit to cover any damages or unpaid rent. Additionally, if a tenant violates the terms of the lease, the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings to regain possession of the property. Furthermore, landlords have the right to raise the rent by a certain percentage each year, and they can refuse to renew a lease at the end of the term if they have a legitimate reason, such as a history of nonpayment or lease violations.

That being said, there are certain restrictions and regulations that landlords must abide by, such as adhering to the state’s rent control and rent stabilization laws, providing adequate notice to tenants before entering the rental property, and not discriminating against tenants based on protected characteristics like race, gender, or religion.

What Must A Landlord Provide By Law In NYC?

Landlords in New York City have certain legal obligations that they must fulfill to provide their tenants with safe and habitable housing. Here are some of the things that a landlord must provide by law in NYC:

  • Heat and Hot Water: Landlords must provide tenants with heat from October 1st to May 31st, with daytime temperatures of at least 68°F (20°C) and nighttime temperatures of at least 62°F (16.7°C). Hot water must be provided year-round, at a minimum temperature of 120°F (49°C).
  • Repairs and Maintenance: Landlords are responsible for keeping the rental unit in good repair and maintaining essential services like electricity and plumbing. They must address any repairs or maintenance issues in a timely manner and not allow hazardous conditions to persist.
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Landlords are required to install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each rental unit. The landlord must also provide tenants with written instructions on how to test and maintain the detectors.
  • Window Guards: Landlords must install window guards in apartments where children aged 10 or younger reside.
  • Lead Paint Disclosure: If the rental property was built before 1978, the landlord must provide tenants with a lead paint disclosure form and any information they have about the presence of lead paint in the unit.
  • Pest Control: Landlords must take reasonable measures to control pests like mice, rats, and roaches in rental units.
  • Notice of Rent Increase: If a landlord wants to increase the rent, they must provide tenants with written notice at least 30 days before the increase goes into effect.

These are just some of the legal obligations that landlords must fulfill in New York City. Landlords who fail to meet these requirements may be subject to fines and legal action by the tenant or the city.

Required Landlord Disclosures In New York

Landlords in New York are required by law to make certain disclosures to their tenants. These disclosures provide tenants with important information about their rental unit and the rental process. Here are some of the required landlord disclosures in New York:

  • Lead Paint Disclosure: If the rental property was built before 1978, landlords must provide tenants with a lead paint disclosure form and any information they have about the presence of lead paint in the unit.
  • Bedbug Disclosure: Landlords must provide tenants with a bedbug history for the previous year, which includes any bedbug infestations that occurred in the rental unit or in the building.
  • Window Guards: If the rental unit is located in a building with three or more apartments and a child aged 10 or younger resides in the unit, the landlord must provide tenants with a notice about the availability of window guards.
  • Fire Safety Disclosure: Landlords must provide tenants with a notice explaining the building’s fire safety features, including the location of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and other safety equipment.
  • Rent Stabilization Disclosure: If the rental unit is subject to rent stabilization laws, landlords must provide tenants with a notice explaining the rent stabilization rules and the tenant’s rights under these laws.
  • Tenant Harassment Disclosure: Landlords must provide tenants with a notice explaining the tenant’s right to be free from harassment by the landlord or other tenants.
  • Recycling Disclosure: Landlords must provide tenants with a notice explaining the building’s recycling program and the requirements for separating and disposing of recyclable materials.

These are just some of the required disclosures that landlords must make in New York. Failure to provide these disclosures can result in legal action by the tenant or the city, so it is important for landlords to be aware of their obligations and make the required disclosures in a timely manner.

New York Security Deposit Laws

New York has specific laws governing security deposits, which are funds that a landlord collects from a tenant at the beginning of a tenancy to cover any damages or unpaid rent. Here are some key provisions of New York security deposit laws:

  • Limit on Security Deposit Amount: In New York, landlords can collect a security deposit equal to no more than one month’s rent. If the tenant has a pet, the landlord can collect an additional deposit of up to one-half of one month’s rent.
  • Timelines for Returning Security Deposit: Landlords must return the security deposit to the tenant within a reasonable amount of time after the tenant moves out. In New York, this is generally considered to be 14 days after the tenant vacates the unit.
  • Itemized List of Deductions: If the landlord withholds any portion of the security deposit, they must provide the tenant with an itemized list of the deductions and the reasons for the deductions. The landlord must provide this list within a reasonable amount of time after the tenant moves out.
  • Separate Bank Account: Landlords in New York must keep security deposits in a separate bank account, and they must not use the deposit for any purpose other than to cover damages or unpaid rent.
  • Interest on Security Deposits: Landlords are not required to pay interest on security deposits in New York unless the building has six or more units and the landlord has held the deposit for at least one year. In that case, the landlord must pay interest on the deposit at the prevailing rate for savings accounts.
  • Small Claims Court: If a tenant believes that a landlord has wrongfully withheld all or part of their security deposit, they can file a claim in small claims court to recover the deposit.

It is important for landlords and tenants to understand their rights and obligations regarding security deposits in New York. By following the state’s laws and regulations, both parties can avoid disputes and ensure a fair and transparent rental process.

New York Termination And Eviction Rules

In New York, termination and eviction rules can be complex and vary depending on the type of tenancy and reason for termination. Here are some general rules:

  • Termination of a fixed-term lease: When a lease expires, the landlord is not required to renew it. However, the landlord must provide notice to the tenant of their intention to not renew the lease at least 30 days before the end of the lease term.
  • Termination of a month-to-month lease: Either the landlord or tenant can terminate a month-to-month lease by providing at least 30 days’ notice. If the tenant has lived in the apartment for more than one year, the landlord must provide at least 60 days’ notice.
  • Eviction for non-payment of rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord can give them a notice to pay rent or quit, which gives the tenant a certain amount of time to pay the rent owed or vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to pay or vacate, the landlord can start a legal eviction process.
  • Eviction for cause: A landlord can also evict a tenant for cause, such as violating a lease provision or engaging in illegal activity on the premises. In this case, the landlord must provide a notice of termination and a notice of petition before starting the legal eviction process.
  • Eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been additional eviction protections put in place. Tenants who have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic may be protected from eviction through various state and federal eviction moratoriums.

Landlord Rights And Responsibilities 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. Also, if a tenant files a reasonable request for a repair, the landlord is required to reply. 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 with the tenant if they had a reasonable repair that you should have done, despite the landlord’s temptation to resist this.

What A Landlord Cannot Do In New York?

As a landlord in New York, there are certain actions and behaviors that are prohibited by law. Some of the things that a landlord cannot do in New York include:

  • Discriminate against tenants: It is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against tenants based on factors such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status.
  • Harass tenants: A landlord cannot harass a tenant in order to force them to move out, such as by shutting off utilities, changing locks, or making excessive noise.
  • Refuse to make necessary repairs: A landlord is required to provide and maintain a habitable dwelling for their tenants, including making necessary repairs to the property.
  • Retaliate against tenants: A landlord cannot retaliate against a tenant for complaining about code violations or for asserting their legal rights.
  • Raise rent without notice: A landlord must provide proper notice before raising rent, in accordance with the lease agreement.
  • Enter the property without notice: A landlord must provide proper notice before entering a tenant’s unit, except in the case of an emergency.
  • Charge illegal fees: A landlord cannot charge illegal fees or demand excessive security deposits.

These are just a few examples of the actions that a landlord cannot do in New York. It is important for both landlords and tenants to understand their legal rights and obligations to ensure a fair and lawful tenancy.

Can A Tenant Refuse Entry To Landlord NYC?

In New York City, a tenant generally cannot refuse entry to a landlord who has given proper notice of their intent to enter the rental unit, except in certain limited circumstances.

In New York, a landlord is required to give reasonable notice to a tenant before entering the rental unit, except in the case of an emergency. Reasonable notice is generally considered to be 24 hours in advance, although the lease or rental agreement may specify a longer notice period. The notice must state the purpose of the entry, which is usually to make repairs or to show the apartment to prospective tenants or buyers.

If a tenant refuses to allow a landlord to enter the rental unit after receiving proper notice, the landlord may be able to take legal action to gain access. For example, the landlord may be able to obtain a court order allowing them to enter the premises or seek an eviction on the grounds that the tenant is interfering with the landlord’s lawful access to the rental unit.

That being said, there are some exceptions where a tenant may refuse entry to a landlord. For example, if the landlord does not provide reasonable notice, if the entry is not for a legitimate purpose, or if the entry would violate the tenant’s right to privacy, the tenant may have the right to refuse entry.

New York State Landlord Right Of Entry

As a general rule, landlords in New York State have the right to enter their rental properties in certain circumstances, such as to make repairs or show the property to prospective tenants. However, landlords must also respect the privacy of their tenants and give reasonable notice before entering the rental property.

Under New York State law, landlords are generally required to give tenants reasonable notice before entering their rental unit. The amount of notice required can vary depending on the reason for the entry. For example, landlords must provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering a rental unit to make repairs or perform maintenance work, unless there is an emergency that requires immediate attention.

Landlords may also enter a rental unit without notice in certain emergency situations, such as to address a gas leak or fire hazard. Additionally, landlords may enter a rental unit without notice if they have obtained a court order authorizing them to do so.

It’s important for landlords to respect their tenants’ privacy and not abuse their right of entry. For example, landlords should avoid entering a rental unit at unreasonable times or without a valid reason. If a tenant believes that their landlord has entered their rental unit without proper notice or justification, they may have legal recourse and should consult with an attorney.

How Do I Protect Myself As a Landlord In NYC?

As a landlord in New York City, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your property. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Screen your tenants: Conduct a thorough screening of potential tenants to ensure they have a good rental history, stable income, and can afford the rent. This can help reduce the risk of late payments, property damage, or other issues.
  • Use a written lease agreement: Use a written lease agreement that clearly outlines the terms of the tenancy, including the rent, security deposit, and any rules and regulations.
  • Maintain the property: Keep the rental property in good condition and make necessary repairs promptly. This can help prevent injuries and damage to the property.
  • Purchase landlord insurance: Consider purchasing landlord insurance to protect yourself from liability and property damage. This can also help cover losses if a tenant fails to pay rent or damages the property.
  • Follow all laws and regulations: Follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including fair housing laws, rent control laws, and building and safety codes.
  • Keep detailed records: Keep detailed records of all rent payments, maintenance requests, and communications with tenants. This can help protect you in case of a dispute or legal action.
  • Communicate clearly with tenants: Maintain clear communication with your tenants, including providing notice before entering the property and promptly responding to maintenance requests.

By following these steps, you can help protect yourself as a landlord in New York City. It is also a good idea to consult with a lawyer who is knowledgeable about landlord-tenant law to ensure that you are following all legal requirements and have the necessary protections in place.

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