New York Tenant Rights Laws

With the allure of places like the Big Apple and Niagara Falls, it's no wonder tens of millions of people choose to live in the Empire State. But along with those soaring New York rent payments, it's not uncommon to have issues with your rental unit. To deal with these issues and protect yourself as a tenant, there is plethora of federal, state, and local laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship, in addition to the terms of your rental contract. Read on to learn more about New York tenant rights laws.

New York Tenant Rights Laws: From Security Deposits to Building Repairs

New York laws cover a wide range of topics pertaining to the landlord-tenant relationship. For example, it's illegal to discriminate against or refuse to rent to someone based on protected characteristics such as race, military status, and sexual orientation. Landlords are also required to return your security deposit to you within a reasonable amount of time, and cannot raise your rent during the term of your lease.

During your tenancy, your landlord must also provide a habitable unit. This includes making necessary repairs and providing services or conditions that are expressly or implicitly included in your lease, such as hot and cold water, heat, and power. And if your landlord is supposed to but doesn't pay the utility bill, you can pay it and deduct the cost from your rent. These and other laws are designed to protect you against unfair practices within the landlord-tenant relationship.

New York Tenant Rights Laws at a Glance

The following chart provides a summary of New York state laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship, including links to important code sections. It's important to note that localities like New York City may have stricter regulations than certain state laws.

Statutes

Security Deposits

  • No statewide limits (one month's rent in places with rent-stabilization)
  • Cannot be nonrefundable
  • Must return all or part of the security deposit within a reasonable time after the end of the lease (with interest in some cases)
  • Part or all may be used if tenant:
    • Owes rent
    • Damages rental beyond normal wear and tear

Paying Rent

  • May not raise rent during lease term (e.g. 6 month or 1 year lease) unless lease allows; may raise rent upon lease renewal
  • May raise rent during periodic rental agreement (e.g. month-to-month)

Living Conditions

  • Landlord must give reasonable notice to enter
  • Landlord may only enter for certain reasons including emergency, to make necessary/agreed-upon repairs, show unit to prospective buyers or tenants
  • Landlord must provide unit fit for human habitation (must be free from conditions dangerous, hazardous, or detrimental to tenant's life, health, or safety)
  • Landlords of multiple dwellings must make repairs necessary for habitability within reasonable period of time unless caused by tenant

Discrimination

  • No discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, familial status, disability, age, or military status
  • No discrimination against tenants with children (exceptions apply)

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • Landlord must give notice to terminate the tenancy:
    • Tenancy at will, by sufferance, or month-to-month: 30 days
    • Lease: according to the terms of the lease
    • Eviction: 3 days for failure to pay rent during lease; 30 days for violating lease
  • Remaining in unit after lease expires converts tenancy to a month-to-month tenancy if the landlord accepts rent from tenant
  • Eviction: Warrant of Eviction required

Retaliation

  • Landlord may not retaliate against tenant for exercising tenant rights

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

New York Tenant Rights Laws: Related Resources

Get Help Protecting Your Tenant Rights

With the vast amount of federal, state, and local law, it's hard to know which codes, rules, and regulations apply to your situation. Whether you're dealing with a landlord who won't fix the faulty plumbing, or you're facing an eviction notice, receive a free initial case review to more fully understand your rights and obligations under New York law.

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