New York Rental Laws

Last updated on August 24, 2016 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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623 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Elle

    I sublet in the town of Southampton NY for 4 months to a girl from Jan 2016 to April 2016. She is refusing to pay cable bills totaling over $300. She also damaged some items and one item was missing after she moved out. She sent pictures of my home upon leaving to protect her self but none of the items missing and damaged appear in the photos, showing they weren’t there! 1 is missing, 2 were placed outside. She used her deposit as rent after being told he could not in writing prior to renting and during. She asked to upgrade the cable then never paid. Do I have recourse to get reimbursed for this? She claims because i was “illegally” subletting to her that she does not have to pay anything! i filed small claims court papers

  • Scott Wagor

    I am in upstate NY. My landlord has stated that he going to e raising by $100 a month. I am on a month to month and have no lease. My landlord is an absent land lord. My cottage is drastic need of MAJOR repairs and he has made no attempt in correcting the issues. I believe that this unit was rented to me illegally because I know for a fact that this unit has been “Red Tagged” for the same issues that I currently have. What are my rights???

  • mary rose

    My college age son signed a lease in February for 1 bedroom of a 2 bedroom apartment for 6/1/16 – 5/20/17. I signed as guarantor. His friend’s name is also on the lease for the other bedroom for 8/27/16 – 5/20/17. In May, my son let the landlord know that he would be graduating early and no longer needed the apartment. LL said we needed to find tenant to sublet to. SURPRISE! Turns out his friend never signed the lease and is not planning on moving in!! Is this a valid lease w/o 2 signatures? Do we need to keep paying until subletter is found or should the LL cancel the lease and refund us rent for June and July, as well as the security?

  • b joy Rivera

    im a landlord and my tenants signed a lease and also an agreement to pay rent and serqurity at a certain day now they refuse to pay me giving me all kinds of excusses went to court but they asked for an injorment to seek a lawyer now what im representing my self

  • clemente clark

    i recently rent a mobile home there was a water leak and the trailer is on a well and the landlord disconnected the tank for soulpher tablets making it where i have to go out buy water from store to have cooking and drinking water isnt the landlord supposed to have running drinking water instead of just water you can use please let me know on this

  • Rose

    My landlord involved her friend in to discussing my rent issue due to my rent being paid late this month. I want to sue her for exposing my oersonal business to her friend is that possible?

    • Shirley Lawrence

      I have a big odor problem with a tenant that is affecting the other tenants. It’s very apparent
      that it’s a hygiene problem . How do I handle this situation ?

      • Billy

        Best course is to send some type of notice. Most likely all you will be able to do is not offer her a new lease and work on getting a new tenant.

  • Susy

    1-I wrote a hand written agreement with not mentioning it’s a month to month, there’s no experation date. So is it a month to month ? 2- tenants are rude & very bossy in my house, she tells me in texts when to go get rent which is late 20 out of 24 months . Now they are late with their late fees for 3 months! How should I handle this? Her replies ,in two weeks, when I have it I’ll tell u …No respect .ive tried being sweet,cute, to th point etc. broke the agreement tons of X they can screw me n not pay the rent so at least I get it late but it’s a nightmare trying to collect she claims they are moving so many X ! Is my written agreement good enough? Really don’t need the hassle in courts to get them out. Any advise ?

  • Michael C.

    I rent the lower floor of a 2 family home. The 75gallon gas water heater is fueled by my meter for both families and this was not disclosed to me in my lease. Is this legal? Any information is greatly appreciated.

  • T Chatman

    Can you have a 10 year lease agreement with a tenant in a private house in New York City?

  • K levine

    My mom is a landlord, she has these tenants that keep having bug problems. First it was bedbugs, which my mom paid to have exterminated. Now they are haveing cockroach problems. The exterminater told her it was most likely because of her living conditions. Can the tenant be held respnsible to the cost of the exterminater? Also it it grounds to have them evicted.

  • Andy

    I’ve been renting the apt im currently lincing for 4 years but its always been a month to month rent; now landlord told me this week I’ve got to move becauae they sold the house they still got my deposit and just paid this months rent what should i do? Also i have two kids so its kind of hard to find a new place what shoul i do.

  • Trish

    I have a tenant I inherited with the purchase of a two family. She is bad mouthing me, deliberately doing things to aggravate me (such as parking in the middle of the driveway) not shutting of lights (my basement light) not locking outside doors, and more including yelling and swearing at me .. isn’t 30 days written notice standard procedure to evict?

  • Jeri

    Live in RS Bldg in queens since 2004. Upstairs tenant has ALWAYS had a roommate. Last 5 (?) years She has 2+ roommates in smallest 1 bed in Bldg. No carpets, no care I can’t sleep. Mgmt does nothing. What do I do to stop this? There have been 30 different roommates in last 2 years. Help.

  • Ann Marie

    My landlord is selling the property I rent. I have a fixed term lease until Nov. of 2018. My landlord states he plans to sell to an investor. He is under pressure to sell the house, due to another financial situation he is in. What happens to me and my lease if he doesn’t sell to an investor or can he even sell to someone other than an investor?

  • Sarah

    Hi, my lease says water and electricity are included in the rent, but I just got back from a vacation and there is a letter telling me to write the landlord a check for the water bill. This isn’t legal, is it? I can’t find much about this in NY state.

    • Trapper

      If your lease states it is included you can’t be charged for it, especially if there is one meter for multiple units which is often the case for water. There is no way of telling who used how much or what percent of the utility, so a “shared meter” is the landlords obligation to pay.

  • Elizabeth

    My landlord is trying to charge me for replacement of a garage door that is still fully operational, just because it has a tire mark on the panel. I paid an 850 deposit. Why would I have to pay for a new garage door and it not come out of the deposit?

    • Trapper

      If you are still living there he can not take the money out of your security deposit, that is put aside for when you move out. I’d get an estimate for removal or repair of just the damaged portion, submit a copy to him, if he tries to charge more take him to court.

  • Amy

    I recently returned to my rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan, New York after an absence of two months while visiting friends only to find my electronic keytab to the building entrance door had been disabled and I was unable to get into the building. I have been a long term resident and my rent has always been fully paid. Initially I thought the battery in the keytab had died and that a replacement was needed. When I contacted my landlord the following day he indicated no replacement was needed and he could enable the keytab via his computer system. Each keytab has an identifying number and the landlord is able to keep a detailed log of the time and date of each tenant’s entry. Does the landlord have a legal right to disable a keytab?

  • Robert

    I am renting a 2 bedroom in a two family house. My electric bill keeps going up every month. And I barely us my heat. There are 2 meters on the side of the house but I do not have a breaker box in my apartment it’s in my landlords part of the house. Shouldn’t I have acc to my breaker box?

    • Trapper

      If you call the utility and tell them your concern, then ask them to check for a shared meter situation your landlord will have to give them access. If anything from the other apartment is on your line they will refund your utilities for as long as you have had the account and your landlord will be billed for the full amount. Under the laws he must pay it and can not hold you accountable for any of it because there is no way to determine who used how much. The utility company will handle it all, but don’t tell the landlord ahead of time or he may disconnect anything on your line from his apartment..

      • Robert

        I have called the elec company they said that there is two bills to the address. But my breaker box is in my landlord’s house. So I don’t know if he is running anything.

        • Trapper

          Tell them you think something is running off your line to the other apartment and that you would like them to check it.

          • Trapper

            If they turn off all the circuit breakers in your box they will be able to tell if something is still running. But, if they are there your landlord may turn off whatever is plugged into your line. Another option, call them and ask if this would work, would be to call them out and to turn off absolutely everything in your apartment and see if your meter still spins.

  • crystal pusateri

    I rent the lower of a two family house. Is it required that the landlord give us notice that workers will be coming in and out of the house to fix the upstairs?

  • Selena

    My family is moving out of the apartment we are currently renting but I’ve made the decision to stay and renew the lease under my income only with myself as HOH. The landlord is letting me know that I would have to have the person who is listed as HOH now write a letter stating that they are turning over the lease to me and I will take on the responsibility of repaying any past due rent balances that they owe on top of whatever rent I will have to pay. This sounds like subleasing to me which I am NOT interested in doing whatsoever. The other people are moving out completely and have no plans on returning. I want to take over the apartment completely. Is this legal for them to do? Why should I be responsible for past due rent fees?

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