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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694 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Lisa Carrington

    I have given my tenant an order to vacate. Their electric service has been in my name as a favor because they owed alot of money to the utility company. Am I required by law to keep their service on for the 30 days?

  • Michael

    we plan to being up the end of June however my wife and I had a fight I got arrested for domestic violence I can’t live with her until we go back to court in one week my landlord has my security deposit of $800 still over supposed to be out the end of June it’s now July 2nd and he just throw me out on the street or can I use a security deposits to stay here for a couple weeks for Forfeiting imy security deposit. My wife is dropping the charges but until another ten days no contact until we see the judge,again.

  • linda

    does a landlord need to disclose that the reason the apartment is for rent is because there was a suicide in the rental

    • Lauren

      I am a real estate agent and if you are selling a house you don’t have to disclose if a suicide or murder took place on the premises so it’s like this also applies to rentals.

    • Lauren

      I am a real estate agent in NY state and if you are selling a house you don’t have to disclose if a suicide or murder took place on the premises so it’s likely this also applies to rentals.

  • Bobbie

    Can your landlord raise the rent from $550.00 to $800.00 at once without a lease?

  • Offir

    Can my landlord make changes to my lease agreement without providing 30 days notice? Further, can he make changes after we already agreed to renew the lease?

  • LostInBK

    Hi – What would be the best option for a multi-tenant apartment in terms of a lease if the roommates don’t know each other?
    – master lease agreement that has to be amended to list all of the tenants each time someone moves out? And a roommate agreement?

    or

    are there other options like crafting an appendix of sorts to append to a master tenant agreement?

    Thanks for any advice and a point in the right direction!

  • anna

    I was brought to court by my landlord I live in her house. The judge has given me till 8/1/17 I still cant find something? Is There anything I can do? The judge didn’t want to hear that we have not had heat for 4 years

  • joel Colon

    I am a tenant in an apartment building, that rent to sex ofenders, my landlord does not allow me to have MY grand children or any minors visit me.by her reasoning there are sex offenders on the property,. is she allowed to do that. mind you i am not a sex offender.

  • Tony

    Hi my name Tony
    My question is I live in building off Four apartment only my Landlord ask to pay the rent double from 1150 to 2500 live in this apartment for 14 years nine years no lease reason he want to renovate all appointment Can I refuse to renovate my appointment because it’s in good shape or what to do not to pay that much rent

  • Bev

    Can a landlord boot a tenant s car for parking in the backyard of a 6 family house when they have been sent numerous notices not to park there?

  • lisa

    As landlord, my tenant is on a month to month lease. She just gave me 3 days notice and will be out by Sunday, August 7, 2017. The rental agreements states she has to give 30 days notice of leaving. Can I keep her security (1 month) deposit or do i have to return it to her.

  • FRANKIE

    i am ”occupied” home owner landlord with 2nd. floor apt. i wish to not have children in my 2 bedroom apt. rental. my main concern is, prefer adults only. can i legally do this. 12211, albany, n.y.

  • Mohammad Rahman

    I have just bought a single family house with a tenant who has a valid lease with previous owner for another 1 year.
    1. Do I need to give them a new lease with the same terms and codition ?
    2. What is the gurantee they will pay rent and vacate the house at end of the lease?
    3. What are my options if he stop paying rent from nent month?
    Please advise.

  • Janis goldberg

    Hi LUCAS:I LIVE IN BUFFALO NY.AND I RENT A ROOM..THE HOYSE IS ABOUT 40 YRS OLD AND NEEDS A LOT OF REPAIRS THERE IS NO WATER IN THE BATHROOM SINK.SINCE BYFFALO IS IN THE COUNTRY, DO I HAVE ANY RIGHTS.LANDLORDS UP HERE USE A LOT OF AIASES ESPECIALLY IN THESE CASES.

  • Janis goldberg

    Hi LUCAS:I LIVE IN BUFFALO NY.AND I RENT A ROOM..THE HOUSEE IS ABOUT 40 YRS OLD AND NEEDS A LOT OF REPAIRS THERE IS NO WATER IN THE BATHROOM SINK.SINCE BYFFALO IS IN THE COUNTRY, DO I HAVE ANY RIGHTS.LANDLORDS UP HERE USE A LOT OF AIASES ESPECIALLY IN THESE CASES.

  • carol

    if someone has paid 125.00 deposit of moving in new state as been there 25 years was to be held in an interest bearing account for this time period. upon moving how much should be returned .

  • wendy

    The downstairs neighbor keeps harassing me about excess noise generated at night even though the only things I do are the walk to the bathroom to the bedroom and sleep on my bed. However the wooden floors makes everything done at night amplified. However I believe the actions I do are within normal living activities that the neighbor cannot complain about. What do you think?

  • Debby

    If I am renting a single room from someone in their house in Lindenhurst, NY, do they have to give me a key to the front door? If I go out she will text me that the door is going to be locked and I will have to wait till the next day to get in. I am current with the rent we verbally agreed upon, but she will not give me a key to the house. When I ask for a key, she will say that she will call the police, purposely bruising herself then tell them I did this to her. All I want is a key so I can come and go as I please without having to worry about being locked out all night.

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