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New York Leases and Rental Agreements Laws

An Overview of New York Lease and Rental Agreement Laws

State laws govern the manner in which lease and rental agreements may be drafted and enforced, such as security deposits and anti-discrimination provisions. New York leases and rental agreements must limit deposits to the equivalent of one month rent, while landlords may not discriminate against prospective tenants on the basis of their sexual orientation or marital status. New York City has some specific rent control laws on the books as well. All states and cities must comply with federal anti-discrimination laws.

What is Typically Included in Leases and Rental Agreements?

A lease (sometimes referred to as a rental agreement) is a legal contract between the tenant and landlord, spelling out the obligations of each party, due dates for paying rent, and other terms. Leases vary, but often contain the following items:

  • Names involved in the lease (usually just the landlord and tenant)
  • Address of the property, plus a description
  • How the long the lease runs (month-to-month, one year, etc.)
  • Rental amount and due dates
  • Security deposit amount
  • Pet policy
  • Utilities covered by the landlord (if applicable)

Below are the basics of New York leases and rental agreements, with links to additional resources. See Rent and Security Deposits for more general information.

Code Section Real Prop. §§232-C 236-237; Exec. §296(5)(A); Rent & Evict. Regs. §2105.5; Gen. Oblig. §7-103
Terms of Leases Holdover converts to month-to-month tenancy absent agreement otherwise
Deposits Limit 1 month rent; interest on deposit required
Discrimination No discrimination on basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, familial status; exception for housing accommodations exclusively for those 55 and older or same sex; landlord may discriminate against children in senior citizen housing, 1 or 2 family homes, mobile homes parks for those 55 or older
Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act Adopted? No

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a New York real estate attorney and  conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law: If you have a problem with your landlord, understanding your state and local law is often a good place to start.  

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