New York Rental Laws

Written on January 24, 2014 by , updated on April 24, 2017

Flag of New YorkThis 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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714 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Tiffany

    I own a 2 family home in NY. I recieved a water bill of $700, normally the bill is around $85. After doing research I found out that one of the tenants had our water meter changed by the town without my knowledge( which was installed wrong, the meter was running backwards). I paid the bill to avoid late fees and the town will not refund any of the money. Is it legal for the tenant to make such changes to the home, and is the town allowed to make changes to the home without my approval?

  • JANIS

    hi lucas:i live in buffalo ny. i rent a room in a upper and lower house.the owner lives in ca but i am paying rent to my former landlord who lost his house he gives me no receipt. ps help

  • Bill

    My landlord has only allowed me two days maximum to have (non-paying) guests from out of town to stay with me. This seems extremely unreasonable. What is my right in having guests visit? How long am I allowed to have people stay before they are considered subletters?

  • Alice T Williams

    The lady that owns the house knew me since I was a little girl she was very good friends with my mother before she died she rented me an apartment on the left side of the house and her sister’s daughter-in-law took over the house and she died then her grandson took over the house a year ago I never had a lease I’ve been living here for 32 years second week of May2018 he decided that he wanted to sell the house he wants me out July 31st 2018 what are my rights

  • Gerardo Aponte

    Can i trasnfer to another building and still pay the same rent. (the building are from the same company)

  • Diane Friel

    Good Morning, Lucas, My question is, Does the law state that management in an apartment complex, must have a key to my apartment’s front door?. I live in Bay Shore, L.I. NY. I have been told this is the law. ( by management ). Everyone I have mentioned this to has said they never heard of such a law. Please help. I know they have been in my apartment when I have been out. I am very uncomfortable about this.

  • Diane Friel

    Good Morning Lucas, I would like to know “Does the law state that management in an apartment complex must have a key to my apartments front door”? I have been told by management that this is the law. I know management has been in my apartment when I have been out. Without prior notification. I am very uncomfortable about this. I am a senior woman, alone. I feel as though I do not have a leg to stand on. Please help. I live in Bay Shore, L.I. NY

  • Justin

    My girlfriend just moved out of an apartment on May 31st. Today we received the deposit check back. It was only $50 out of 475. Now as I recall should she be charged for the landlord to repaint and shampoo the rugs. From my understanding they have to do that after every tenant moves out anyways.

  • Becca

    We have a rooftop pool. To gain access to the pool a tenant must pay a $50 maintenance fee which I am compleytely fine with. However, we just received the “rooftop pool agreement” and it states

    “Non-resident guests of Resident’s shall only be allowed to access the Rooftop Pool area, if
    accompanied at all times by a resident. Residents may bring up to 2 guests per apartment
    home maximum at a time, subject to the then existing limitations of space at the time of the visit.
    Guests are permitted to pay a (“Guest Fee”) of $20 per day (per guest) for pool usage.”

    I feel that this is not lawful for them to be charging a guest fee as we are already paying a pool fee and we will be held liable for guests.

    Please advice.

  • Jeanine CALLIER

    Hello I recently rented a vacation house for a week.. when I arrived at the house the owner texted me about an AC unit that he has sitting on a bucket. The AC was extremely heavy to lift as well as the bucket because the water drains into like a 5 gallon paint bucket long story short he claims I made the bucket flow over and caused water damage through out the whole house. There was only 1 AC in 1 area the bucket was full but not over flowing..who is at fault?

  • Anthony Alvarez

    Hi, I was wondering what are my legal rights. Since my landlord thinks its okay for him to come to my house almost everyday with his family and cousins to hang out in the backyard. Its feels so uncomfortable and this issue has already for one of them to hit my car bc he comes over with so many cars.

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