Looking for clear and concise information on New York landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the New York Landlord Tenant Act.
There are three main types of rental housing in New York:
1. Unregulated Housing (Market Rate Housing)
2. Regulated Housing (Rent Stabilized Housing)
3. Subsidized Housing
The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.
Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)]
For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:
The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.
In addition, New York landlord tenant law disallows landlords from rejecting someone as a renter because of his or her creed, age, sexual orientation, military status or marital status (or change in marital status).
In Buffalo, Hamburg, West Seneca and Nassau County, it is also illegal for landlords to reject someone as a renter because of his or her income source.
A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal.
The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.
New York landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:
According to New York landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:
The landlord cannot combine security deposits with his or her own personal funds. [NY GOL 7-103.(1)]
Landlords of buildings with six or more apartments have to put all security deposits in New York bank accounts earning interest at prevailing rates. The landlord has to inform all tenants of the bank's name, bank's address and deposit amount in writing. The landlord can keep one percent interest and give the remainder to the tenant. [Tenants' Rights Guide: page 8]
New York landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under New York landlord tenant law) include:
The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.
Once the lease terminates, the landlord must return any remaining deposit (after lawful deductions) to the tenant within a reasonable time. [Tenants' Rights Guide: page 8] We recommend that the landlord send the tenant a itemized list of security deposit deductions in writing as well.
Once the property ownership is transferred, the landlord (previous owner) shall transfer all security deposits and prepaid rents to the new owner within five days.
The previous shall have to inform the tenant (by registered or certified mail) that the deposits and prepaid rents has been transferred to the new owner and what is the new owner's name and address. [NY GOL 7-105]
New York City, New York NY
There are no New York landlord tenant laws on imposing charges for late rent payments or bounced checks.
If the landlord wants to impose late rent charges, it has to be specified in the tenancy agreement. While there are no state laws on late fees, landlords cannot overcharge or impose unfair terms. Otherwise the tenant can refuse to pay and challenge the late fees in court.
Most states consider reasonable late fees to be around 3 to 5% of the rent amount. In addition, landlords should wait until rent payment is at least three days late before charging late fees.
The Rent Guidelines Board sets the maximum rent increases for rent stabilized apartments every year. If major improvements are made to the rental unit or building, the landlord may ask for additional rent increase. [Tenants' Rights Guide: page 6]
For rent stabilized apartments in New York City, the landlord can ask for a maximum of 6% rent increase per year. For rent stabilized apartments outside New York City, the maximum rent increase is capped at 15% per year.
If the tenant pays rent by cash, money order or cashier's check, the landlord must give the tenant a written receipt. [NY RPP 235-E] This receipt must contain the following:
There are no specific New York landlord tenant laws on increasing rent for market rate housing.
We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:
The New York Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition [NYC Admin Code 27-2005] [Tenants' Rights Guide: page 19]:
New York landlord tenant law also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition [NYC Admin Code 27-2006]:
If the landlord fails to maintain the property, the tenant must give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord enough amount of time to fix it.
If the landlord fails to make repairs within a reasonable amount of time, the tenant can sue the landlord for a rent reduction. Rent regulated tenants can file a rent reduction complaint with DHCR. [Tenants' Rights Guide: page 18]
For urgent situations (e.g. broken door lock), the tenant can make repairs and deduct the cost from rent. The
tenant should inform the landlord that he or she intends
to fix the problem at the landlord's expense and keep all repair receipts.
According to New York landlord tenant law, the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons [Tenants' Rights Guide: page 25]:
In the above situations, the landlord should inform the tenant at least 24 hours in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours.
The tenant cannot deny access if the landlord has a valid reason to enter the property. Otherwise the landlord can obtain a court order that requires the tenant to let the landlord in.
According to New York landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations:
New York landlord tenant law disallows subletting unless the landlord agrees to it in writing. [NY RPP 226-B]
If the tenant is staying in a building with four or more apartments, the landlord will need a valid reason to disallow subletting - See "Rejecting Subtenants" below.
If the landlord allows subletting, the tenant will still be responsible for all lease obligations (including future rent).
If the tenant wants to sublet, he or she will have to send the landlord a written request (by certified mail) with the following information:
For rent stabilized housing, the subtenant cannot be charged more than the stabilized rent amount. [NYCRR 2525.6.(e)] If the subtenant is overcharged, he or she may file a complaint with DHCR or sue the main tenant to recover the overcharged amount with interest PLUS attorney fees.
A rent stabilized tenant can sublet for a maximum of two years during a four year period.
If the landlord has a valid reason, he or she can disallow subletting by giving the tenant a written rejection within 30 days. Example of valid reasons include
If the landlord doesn't give a written rejection within 30 days, it is assumed that the landlord has agreed to sublet.
If the landlord has a valid reason to reject subletting, the tenant cannot sublet or terminate the lease. However if the landlord doesn't have a valid reason, the tenant can proceed to sublet or terminate the lease agreement by giving the landlord a written notice 30 days in advance.
Buffalo, New York NY
New York City: For a month to month tenancy, you have to give the other party a written notice to quit at least 30 days in advance. [NY RPP 232-A]
Outside New York City: For a month to month tenancy, you have to give the other party a written notice to quit one month in advance. You won't have to give any notice to quit when a fixed term lease expires. [NY RPP 232-B]
If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:
Landlord rejected subletting without valid reason
Tenant is 62 years or older
Tenant or related person is a victim of domestic violence
Tenant is entering active duty
Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident
If the tenant is 62 years or older, he or she can terminate the rental agreement earlier without penalties for the following reasons [Tenants' Rights Guide: page 25]:
The tenant must give the landlord a written notice to quit at least 30 days in advance. This notice must include the following:
If the tenant or tenant's household member is a victim of domestic violence, he or she may terminate the rental agreement earlier without penalties by giving the landlord (and any co-tenants) a written notice 30 days in advance. [NY RPP 227-C.(d)]
This notice must state that the tenant or tenant's household member is a victim of domestic violence and it is unsafe for them to remain on the property AND include one of the following documents:
New York landlord tenant law allows military personnel to terminate a residential lease if BOTH conditions are met [Tenants' Rights Guide: page 15]:
After military service begins, the tenant can give the landlord a written notice to terminate the lease. If rent is paid monthly, then the lease shall terminate 30 days after the next rent due date. (e.g. If tenant gives notice on 5 Jun and rent is due on 15 Jun, then the lease shall terminate on 15 Jul) [NY Military Law 310]
If the property is badly damaged by fire, disasters or unavoidable accidents, the tenant can immediately move out and stop paying rent. The tenancy shall terminate once the tenant moves out. [NY RPL 227] [Tenants' Rights Guide: page 18]
After the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security
deposit (after any deductions) to the tenant. The tenant won't have to
pay rent starting from the date of the fire or natural disaster, so the
landlord must also return any prepaid rent to the tenant.
If only part of the property is damaged, the tenant should move out of the damaged area. The rent amount will be lowered (by court order or DHCR) based on how much of the property is still livable. The landlord must then repair the damaged areas.
According to New York landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:
Tenant did not pay rent
Tenant violated tenancy agreement
Once rent is overdue for 5 or more days, the landlord can send the tenant a written rent demand with the following details:
This rent demand has to be sent by certified mail and give the tenant at least 14 days to pay the rent owed.
If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement, the landlord has to give the tenant a written 10 days notice to comply (also known as notice to cure). This first notice has to state what is the tenant's violation and give him or her 10 days to correct it. If the tenant corrects the problem within 10 days, the tenant may stay.
If the tenant fails to correct the problem with 10 days, the landlord shall give the tenant a written 30 day notice to quit (also known as a notice of termination). This second notice has to state that the tenancy is being terminated because the tenant failed to correct the violation and the tenant has 30 days to move out.
According to New York landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing. [NYC Admin Code 26-521]
If the landlord forces the tenant to move out with unlawful methods, the tenant can sue the landlord for triple damages. In addition, the courts may allow the tenant to continue staying on the property. [RPAPL 853]
There are no specific New York landlord tenant laws on abandonment of property by the tenant.
We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:
New York Landlord Tenant Law: New York Landlord and Tenant Act
New York Landlord Tenant Handbook: Tenants' Rights Guide
Eviction: New York Courts - Evicting a Tenant
Security Deposit: New York Security Deposit Law