Landlord/Tenant Disputes: New York Tenant's Rights

Facing a landlord/tenant dispute? Are you wondering what are a New York tenant's rights?

New York tenants have the following rights but they also have the following responsibilities.

New York tenants have these rights:

  • Tenants have the right to repairs. You can request this to the manager or landlord and if they do not respond, you can send a written request by certified mail. If they still do not respond you can file a complaint.
  • Tenants have the right to have their apartments painted. A landlord is required to paint occupied apartments every 3 years.
  • A landlord cannot enter your apartment at any time unless it's one of these situations:
    • The landlord has given notice that they will enter.
    • The tenant and landlord have agreed upon a time to conduct repairs and/or services.
    • The apartment needs to be shown to perspective tenants.
    • A landlord can enter at any time in the event of an emergency without giving any notice to the tenant.
  • Can tenants have pets in their apartment? A tenant's lease must permit pets, unless they have a "service dog". If pets are not permitted in the lease and a tenant keeps one in their apartment they may be violating their lease.
  • A landlord cannot change the locks if they do not have an eviction notice and the tenant has a lease or has lived in the apartment for more than 30 days. The landlord would be in violation of the New York Unlawful Eviction Law.)
  • A landlord may or may not be able to raise your rent. If you live in a rent controlled apartment there are rules that determine how much your rent can be increased each year. If you do not live in a rent controlled apartment then your rent is dictated by your lease and can only be raised as is permitted by the lease or if the lease expires. Without a lease, a landlord only has to give a tenant one month advance notice before they raise the rent to whatever amount they wish. Not paying may be grounds for eviction.
  • Tenants have the right not to be discriminated against. Tenants, under law, cannot be discriminated against on the basis of color, race, nationality, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, immigrant status, legal occupation, having children, or source of income.
  • Are tenant's entitled to their security deposits when they move at the end of their lease? Yes, they should receive their security deposit back minus what the landlord can deduct for any damage done to the apartment. Normal wear and tear should not be deducted.

New York tenants have these responsibilities:

  • Tenants must comply with the laws and their leases.
  • Tenants are responsible for violations caused by willful acts, gross negligence and abuse. (NYC Housing Maintenance Code)
  • Tenants must provide reasonable access to their apartment so that the manager or landlord can make repairs and improvements.
  • Tenants must respond to an owner's legally required notice.

New York landlords have these responsibilities:

  • Landlords must maintain a clean and safe property in both individual apartments and any common areas.
  • They must provide hot and cold water as well as heat to their apartments.
  • They must maintain good lighting inside the building and security measures.
  • Landlords need to remain compliant with the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law and the New York City Housing Maintenance Code.
  • Apartment building owners must register with the New York City Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) each year.


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