New York Rental Laws

Last updated on April 24, 2017 by

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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648 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Robin M Eagan

    when you rent by law do you have to give your landlord a key

    • Trapper

      Yes. It is their property and they must be able to access it in emergencies as well as to perform repairs or inspections, with advance notice, or to show it if you are moving out. You can not limit their access to times you are home.

      • Robin M Eagan

        thanks for getting back to me when you rent and there’s no lease and you find a place to live do you have to give your landlord a 30 day notice from the 1st day of the month or can you give if from the 15th of the month to the 15th of the month as long as it’s 30 day’s notice

        • Trapper

          30 days is thirty days, if they are there part of a month, though, you may be able to get a judge to award you the whole months rent since you can not rent it part way through. But, sometimes it is best to cut your losses and use those days to paint, clean, and show it.
          If you piss off the tenants by not prorating the rent they may do damage or try to prevent your showing it.

  • Enid

    In NY State, if a renter’s lease doesn’t start until the 10th of the month, is the landlord required by law to prorate the first month’s rent?

    • Trapper

      Depends, does your lease run from the 10th through the 9th of each month or will your rent be due on the 1st?
      If the rent is due the 1st your rent for the first month should be prorated.

      • Enid

        Thanks so much for your quick response!
        It’s a 14-month lease, indicating dates are May 10, 2017 to June 30, 2018….with the last two months being free (May and June of 2018).
        It’s my understanding that they have to prorate the rent for May of 2017, or else revise the end date of the lease to July 9, 2018.
        Is this correct, and is it a NY State law?

        • Trapper

          Correct, you can not charge or be charged for days you can not access the unit. But, this could be part of an agreed upon package that by giving two free months at the end you pay a full month’s rent now. If you change dates to the middle of the month that would also change the due date of rent along the way.

  • Kendall

    I signed a lease in 2016, expiring on 08/31/2017, with one other cotenant. I moved to a new apartment in February 2017 and signed a new lease with my girlfriend. Since March, my old roommate, the cotenant on my first lease, has made it hard to sublet my room. Can my old roommate refuse to allow me in the apartment to show potential subletters? Thanks.

  • Danielle

    My landlord called me at 6am this morning (it’s Saturday) asking why there was a vehicle other than mine in the driveway. I find it hard to believe she has any right to ask me who is in my apartment and how often they are there. She’s been in my apartment more than once without my permission, and seems to be extremely interested in my personal life. I know legally I have rights to privacy as a tenant, but can you please enlighten me as to where I can draw the line?

    Thanks in advance

  • Marie

    An apartment is registered under a two family home but it is four apartments one boiler service entire home. When does the dwelling law apply as per landlord not allowed to collect rent? I been researching can’t find any guideline which can tell me when doesn’t the law apply . New York City.

  • Chipote Negro

    I have a lease agreement which I need to terminate early due to an unexpected turn of events regarding an unrelated home I had wanted to purchase prior to signing the current lease which was a change of heart circumstance on the part of the seller. I will have 6 mo left. The home is located in the TOWN of Kingston & the small claims court max is $3,000. The landlord & I had met & I had offered 2 months rent in exchange for terminating the lease early (he has not yet agreed) which would be a total of $3,300. My questions are:

    1. Must a landlord use the small claims court for the judgement and thus limit my damages to $3,000 or could they use a court that may award them more?

    2. Can the landlord file for collections without court judgement

  • Kimmy

    If tenant signed a lease agreement stating the grounds for eviction, is the landlord still required to give 10 days?

  • Anna McElhinney

    Hello,

    My Landlord took us to court..The judge adjourned the case..What does that mean?

  • Sarah

    If I’m ending my lease early (6 months) due to family reasons. Can my landlord take me to court for the reminder of my lease if they already have a tenant moving in to the unit?

  • Alana

    hello,
    after 12 years of living at 2 apt house. I am being evicted. there is a holdover hearing soon and the papers show a different amount than the amount paid on my receipts. I have lived in the basement and shared the kitchen and a small living room space up on the first floor.
    My landlord came in December and asked me to remove the extensions from the garage and my Christmas lights. she said this was illegal although I have paid the light bill for 11 years. the 1st floor tenant pays the gas bill.
    the agent who is showing the place was rude and verbally abusive and questioned my disability. because I was not always available to give him access to show.
    im not sure where I stand I just got the documents last Monday
    please advise

  • confused landlord

    Can the 1- of 2 property owners decide to not rent the property out after a month to month lease was signed but none of the states required disclosures we in the lease as required,
    can he terminate the lease as long as he does so before the date scheduled for the tenant to move in and on a month to month agreement also when the security,damage deposit and the first and last months rent have not been PAID full by the date agreed upon? Can he also terminate the lease if the other property CO/ Owner WAS NOT/IS NOT IN AGREEMENT WITH IT BEING RENTED OUT AT THIS TIME

  • Steve

    My landlord put a notice of termination on my door. When I debunked their reasons for the attempted eviction they then informed me that they were going to not renew my lease. I’ve been here 9 years and there has never been any problem renewing my lease before. I live near Rochester, NY. I just wanted to state that because the housing laws are different in NYC. Thank you for your help.

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