This is a summary of New York Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the New York Consolidated Laws, New York Real Property Law, New York Real Property Actions Law, the New York General Obligations Law, and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about New York landlord-tenant laws, New York eviction laws, and New York renters’ rights. 

However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer.  If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.

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Rules and Regulations Governing New York Landlord-Tenant Laws

New York Lease Terms Provisions


Security Deposits

  • What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
    Unless a property is subject to rent control, security deposits cannot exceed one month’s rent. (N.Y. Gen. Oblig. L. § 7-108)
  • Are security deposits required to earn interest?

Yes, if the rental property consists of more than 6 or more dwellings, security deposits must be kept in an interest-bearing account with a New York financial institution. (N.Y. Gen. Oblig. L. § 7-103(2-a))

  • Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account? 

Yes. Landlords cannot mix personal funds with security deposits. (N.Y. Gen. Oblig. L. § 7-103(1))

  • Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?

No. There is no New York law forbidding non-refundable fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge. 

  • How long do landlords have to return security deposits?

Unless a property is subject to rent control, security deposits must be returned within 14 days after the tenant has vacated the premises. (N.Y. Gen. Oblig. L. § 7-108)

  • Can landlords withhold security deposits?

Yes. Landlords can use the deposit to cover accrued rent, to repair any damages to the property caused by tenants beyond normal wear and tear, for any outstanding utility payments, and for moving and storage of tenant’s belongings. (N.Y. Gen. Oblig. L. § 7-108)

  • Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?

Yes. An itemized list detailing the basis for the amount of deposit retained must accompany a refund of any remaining security deposit within 14 days of vacancy. (N.Y. Gen. Oblig. L. § 7-108)

  • Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?

Yes. The landlord must provide tenant with a written account of the amount received and what financial institution the deposit is held in. (N.Y. Gen. Oblig. L. § 7-103(2))

  • Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?

No. There is no New York law specifying record-keeping requirements for deposit withholdings. 

  • What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?

A landlord is liable for up to twice the amount of deposit, as well as any actual damages from the wrongful withholding of a security deposit. (N.Y. Gen. Oblig. L. § 7-108)

Rent

  • Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)

While New York City and other jurisdictions may have rent control, there is no statewide rent control in New York.

  • When is rent due?

Rent is due at the time and place agreed upon by the landlord and tenant. 

  • Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?

No. There is no New York law requiring a certain payment method for rent, though a landlord cannot require electronic payment of rent. (N.Y. Real Prop. L. § 7-235-G)

Fees

  • Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?

Yes. Landlords can charge a late fee up to the lower of $50 or 5% of the monthly rent. (Changes in New York State Rent Law)

  • Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?

Yes. A rent payment can only be considered late if it is more than 5 days past due. (Changes in New York State Rent Law)

  • Can landlords charge application fees?

No, landlords can only charge up to $20 for a background and credit check. (Changes in New York State Rent Law)

  • Can landlords charge returned check fees?

Yes. If the lease specified returned check fees, they can be charged, so long as they are not more than $20. (Changes in New York State Rent Law)

New York Landlord-Tenant Relations

Notices

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms?

Yes. Landlords must provide tenants with written notice in advance of any rent increases greater than 5%. If the tenant has been in the dwelling for more than 2 years, 90 days notice is required. After one year of tenancy, 60 days are required, and 30 days notice is required for any tenant. (Changes in New York State Rent Law)

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?

No. There is no New York law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.

  • What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?

If a landlord does not intend to renew a tenant’s lease, they must provide advance notice. All tenants need at least 30 days notice, but tenants of longer than 1 year must receive 60 days’ notice, and tenants of greater than 2 years must receive 90 days’ notice. (Changes in New York State Rent Law)

  • What notice is required to terminate a week-to-week periodic tenancy?

Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the tenancy with 7 days written notice. (Changes in New York State Rent Law)

  • What notice is required to terminate a month-to-month periodic tenancy?

Month-to-month tenancy requires the same notice as fixed-end leases in New York State. (Changes in New York State Rent Law)

  • Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?

A landlord must provide written notice to a tenant at least 48 hours prior to a move out inspection. (N.Y. Gen. Oblig. L. § 7-108)

Entry Provisions

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?
    • Entry provisions are not governed by statute in New York State, but a reasonableness standard for both entry and notice are observed. 
    • Parties can contract for certain access provisions in the lease.
  • What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?

There is no New York law requiring landlords to give tenants notice of entry, but reasonableness is enforced.

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?

There is no statute governing the access of landlords to tenants premises.

Landlord’s Duties

  • New York State has deemed that all residential leases contain an implied warranty of habitability. This warranty gives landlords the responsibility to maintain premises that are fit for human habitation and the uses reasonably intended by the parties. (N.Y. Real Prop. L. §  235-B)

Tenant’s Duties

  • There is no New York State statute covering this issue.

Required Landlord Disclosures

  • Landlords are required to disclose in writing the names and business addresses of: 
    • the person authorized to manage the premises.
    • the owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for service of process and receiving notices. 
  • Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

New York Renters’ Rights

  • What are New York renters’ rights if landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)

As a landlord’s only statutory duty in New York is the implied warranty of habitability, any breach by the landlord would put the tenant in a position requiring the breach be cured quickly. Actual damages and punitive damages are available to tenants if the breach is not remedied or not remedied in a reasonable amount of time. (N.Y. Real Prop. L. §  235-A)

  • Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?

Yes. Payments to utility companies made by the tenant to keep the dwelling in a habitable condition can be deducted from the rent. (N.Y. Real Prop. L. §  235-A)

  • What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their New York renter’s rights?

New York law prohibits landlords from increasing rent, decreasing services, or bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession if the tenant has complained to a governmental agency, complained to the landlord about a breach of landlord’s duties, or if the tenant becomes a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization. (N.Y. Real Prop. L. §  223-B)

New York Eviction Laws

  • What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under New York eviction laws?
    • Nonpayment of rent 
    • The tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration or termination of the term of the rental agreement (holdover tenancy) 
  • Illegal activity or the deliberate  infliction of substantial damage to the property
  • The tenant has declared bankruptcy.
  • The tenant removes or disables smoke detectors from a dwelling in a city with a population of more than a million. (N.Y. Real Prop Acts § 711)
  • What notice do New York eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
    • For evictions based on non-payment of rent, a landlord must provide 14 days’ notice of a rent demand before starting an eviction procedure. Until eviction occurs, a tenant can stop the eviction by paying all rent due. A landlord cannot evict based on any unpaid fees or legal bills if all rent owed is paid. (N.Y. Changes)
  • For holdover tenancies, if the landlord accepts any rent from the tenant, the landlord must then prove the tenant is objectionable for removal to be effective. (N.Y. Real Prop Acts § 711)
  • Do New York eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities? 

No. Each violation or attempt to ensure a self-help eviction is a separate offense, punishable by a civil penalty of between $1,000 and $10,000. Each violation is also a Class A misdemeanor. (N.Y. Real Prop Acts § 768

  • Are landlords permitted to recover damages from an evicted tenant?

Yes.  Landlords can recover attorney’s fees and expenses if they are clearly called for in the lease. (N.Y. Real Prop. L. §  234)

COVID-19 Changes to New York Landlord-Tenant Laws

  • The CDC has passed a national eviction ban through December 31, 2020, that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants  who meet the following criteria for nonpayment:
    • Have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent.
    • Expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
    • Are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of income or employment, or extraordinary medical bills.
    • If evicted, will have no other housing options.
  • The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires landlords to provide a 30-day notice to tenants before eviction. However, the CARES Act only applies to properties that are supported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the United States Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit), and properties with federally-backed mortgages, such as FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
  • New York State has announced a moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic for residents who are suffering financial hardship. The moratorium extends through January 1, 2021. 

Related Links

Government 

Legal Aid

Attorney Referral Services

Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations

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