Tenant Rights in New York State: What You Need to Know - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jan 23, 2020

Tenant Rights in New York State: What You Need to Know

Renting your home comes with a lot of great perks including fewer responsibilities and a lower level of commitment to your current residence. But renting can also raise some challenges; especially when you don’t always see eye to eye with your landlord.

Unfortunately, misunderstandings and disagreements can sometimes escalate to more than just dissatisfaction, with landlords using tactics such as eviction threats or raised rent to control you, the tenant, or force you out of your living space.

To help navigate the various disagreements and situations that can arise between renters and their landlords, New York State has passed a new series of laws designed to protect renters in sticky legal situations.

Read on to learn more about some of the highlights from these changes and your rights as a renter.

Security Deposits
With the new laws has come a limit to how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. Landlords are now limited to charging only one month’s equivalent for security deposits. Landlords are also required to allow potential tenants a walkthrough before moving in. Click here to learn more about security deposits specifically.

Rent Control
According to New York State law, landlords cannot use rent in a discriminatory fashion or raise costs as a retaliation towards renters exercising their legal rights. For more information on rent control, click here.

Rent Changes
The new laws provide landlords with very specific guidelines on how much notice they must give their tenants before changing the rent. All renters must be given at least 30 days’ notice before a rent change is implemented, and renters who have resided on the property for a prolonged period of time are entitled to notice further in advance. For example, those who have rented the property for one year or more are entitled to 60 days’ notice. And those who have lived in the space for two years or more must be given 90 days’ notice.

Eviction Rights
Landlords can no longer evict tenants for complaining about the condition of the rental space. In addition, tenants cannot be discriminated against for prior evictions with previous landlords. Should a tenant be late on their rent payment, landlords must provide 14 days’ notice via a written demand before filing for eviction. However, different rules may apply to rentals covered by rent control or stabilization. 

Late fees
Renters are allotted 5 days to be late on a rent payment before a late fee is applied. Said late fee cannot be more than $50 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is less.

We know this is a lot of information! Here are some tips for best protecting yourself and staying in the know:

- It’s important to always know your rights. Continue to read up on legislation and know what you’re entitled to before signing a new lease.
- If you’re ever in a situation where something doesn’t feel right, go with your gut feeling! Don’t hesitate to contact your lawyer and ask for legal counsel.
- Take it a step further and protect yourself with renters insurance. Renters insurance is typically very affordable and can protect your valuables even when you’re not home.

Click on the button below to learn more about renters insurance and how it can benefit you both in and outside the walls of your rental.