New York Rental Laws

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This article summarizes some key New York Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.  Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all applicable laws in regards to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may be able to help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Statute (source)
  • Security Deposit Interest: If the rental property contains 6 or more family dwellings, landlord is required to keep the deposit in a New York interest-bearing bank account and collect interest on behalf of the tenant. (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-103(2-a))
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Landlord cannot mingle deposit funds with personal funds. (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-103(1)) If the rental property contains 6 or more family dwellings, landlord is required to keep the deposit in a New York interest bearing bank account. (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-103(2-a))
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No Statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: Any “reasonable” amount of time. (source)
  • Security Deposit can be withheld for: (source)
    • Damages beyond normal wear and tear
    • Reimbursement for unpaid rent
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: No Statute
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Transfer of Property Ownership: Deposit must be transferred within 5 days of property transfer. Landlords must notify tenants, by registered or certified mail, of the name and address of the new owner. (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-105)
  • Receipt of Deposit: Landlord shall provide tenants with the name and address of the banking organization in which the deposit of security money is made, and the amount of such deposit. (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-103(2))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: No Statute
  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Automatic Lease Renewal: Landlord must give the tenant advance notice of the existence of an auto-renewal clause between 15 and 30 days before the tenant is required to notify the landlord of an intention not to renew the lease. (source)
  • Rent Grace Period: No Statute
  • Late Fees: No Statute
  • Application Fees: A landlord may charge a “reasonable” application fee (source). Use Cozy to avoid having to charge application fees altogether.
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Returned Check Fees: Yes, if it is specified in the lease, and must not be more than $20 (N.Y. GOL §§ 5-328). I recommend using Cozy to collect rent online to nearly eradicate late payments.
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes (N.Y. RPL §§ 235-a)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, under some circumstances. (N.Y. RPL §§ 235-b)
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes (N.Y. RPL §§ 234)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No Statute, but previous Civil Court cases have ruled that the landlord does have a responsibility to mitigate damages.
  • Receipt of Rent: Landlord must provide a written receipt for rent paid in the form of cash or any instrument other than personal check of tenant (unless receipt of check is requested). (N.Y. RPL §§ 235-e)
  • Electronic Rent Payments: A landlord shall not require a lessee or tenant to use an electronic billing and/or payment system as the only method for the payment of rent. (N.Y. RPL §§ 235-g)
  • The following lease provisions are prohibited and void: (source)
    • Exempting landlords from liability for injuries to persons or property caused by the landlord’s negligence, or that of the landlord’s employees or agents
    • Waiving the tenant’s right to a jury trial in any lawsuit brought by either of the parties against the other for personal injury or property damage
    • Requiring tenants to pledge their household furniture as security for rent
    • General Obligations Law § 5-321; Real Property Law § 259-c and § 231.

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is needed to terminate a lease with a definite term, outside of NYC. (N.Y. RPL §§ 232-b)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: One month if outside NYC.  (N.Y. RPL §§ 232-b) 30 days if in NYC.  (N.Y. RPL §§ 232-a)
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Notice of Termination of Lease for Nonpayment: 10 days to Remedy or Quit. (N.Y. RPL §§ 751(1))
  • Notice of Termination for Lease Violation: 10 days to Remedy or Quit. (N.Y. RPL §§ 753(4))
  • Required Notice before Entry: No Statute, but at least 24 hours notice is recommended.
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No Statute, but at least 24 hours notice is recommended.
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No Statute, but at least 24 hours notice is recommended.
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (source)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (source)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Copy of the Lease: In NYC, The landlord shall provide the tenant with a copy of any written rental agreement within 30 days of ratification. (source)
  • Domestic Violence Situations: With approval of court, a tenant is allowed to terminate a lease prematurely in situations of domestic violence. (N.Y. RPL §§ 237-c)
  • Retaliation: Landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, been involved in a tenant’s organization, or exercised a legal right.  Courts will assume “retaliation” by landlord if negative action is taken on the tenant within 6 months after any of the prior tenant actions. (N.Y. RPL §§ 223-b) A landlord who seeks to enforce such a fee, penalty or charge against a tenant because such tenant files a bona fide complaint with a building code officer regarding the condition shall be liable to the tenant for triple the amount of such fee, penalty or charge. (N.Y. RPL §§ 223-b(5a)).

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements.  Check with your local governing authority.

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