Westchester County, New York Landlord-Tenant Law

Much like everywhere else, the relationship between landlords and tenants in New York is governed by the state’s rental laws. The New York landlord-tenant law is detailed and outlines what rights and responsibilities each party has in regard to the lease or rental agreement. 

Understanding these New York tenant laws is important for both landlords and tenants and can help solve many legal questions and avoid problems. 

The following is an overview of the landlord-tenant laws in New York by Sterling Property Solutions.

New York State Tenant Rights & Responsibilities

New York State tenant rights include the right to:

  • Form a tenant’s association with other residents in a multi-family complex.  
  • Live in a safe, well-maintained property that’s free from leaks, pests and hazardous conditions. 
  • Privacy, peace and quiet.
  • Written receipts for rent or deposits. 
  • Advanced notice of changes made to the lease agreement. 

Tenants have a responsibility to:

  • Pay rent when it’s due.
  • Take good care of the property. 
  • Inform the landlord when they will be away for an extended period of time. 
  • Tell their landlord when property repairs and maintenance are required. 
  • Not disturb the peace and quiet of other tenants. 
  • Abide by all the terms of the lease. 
  • Notify the landlord when planning to move out.

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NY State Landlord Responsibilities & Rights

In New York, landlords have a right to:

  • Be notified by tenants when they want to move out. 
  • Be given notice by tenants who are leaving town for an extended period of time. 
  • Accessing a rental unit to make needed inspections and repairs. 
  • Use the tenant’s security deposit to pay for unpaid rent and/or excessive property damages. 
  • Receive rent payments on-time.
  • Screen all prospective tenants that apply to live in their rentals. 

Landlords in NY have a responsibility to:

  • Follow the correct procedure when terminating a lease or conducting evictions.
  • Not retaliate against a tenant who is exercising their legal right. 
  • Disclose necessary information to tenants before they sign the lease. 
  • Provide a home that meets all the state’s basic habitability standards. 
  • Follow New York’s rental laws.
  • Comply with anti-discrimination laws.



Required Landlord Disclosures in New York

The following are the disclosures every landlord in New York must make to their tenants before signing a lease. 

  • Details pertaining to security deposits. For example, the amount to be paid, how you will be storing the security deposit, and the conditions that need to be met in order for them to get it back.
  • Your name and address, along with that of any other person authorized to undertake your responsibilities, such as a property manager.
  • Presence of health and environmental hazards, such as bed bugs, radon, mold, or lead-based paint. 
  • Shared utility arrangements and the details surrounding them. 

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An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in NY

1. Landlord Entry

As a landlord, you have a right to enter your tenant’s premises under certain conditions. However, you must notify the tenant of your intended entry first by sending them 24-hours’ notice. Common reasons why landlords may need to enter units include:

  • When there are sufficient reasons to believe that a property has been abandoned.
  • Pursuant to a court order.
  • Emergency situations. 
  • When responding to a tenant maintenance request. 
  • When showing the property to prospective buyers, mortgagers or renters. 

The time of entry must also be reasonable. That is to say, during the day on weekdays, and not early in the morning or late in the evening.


2. Property Maintenance

It is your responsibility as a landlord to provide a unit that is habitable. The following are some of the things that deem a property habitable in New York:

  • Up-to-code conformity to building codes. 
  • Protection in the form of window guards and properly-function locks on doors. 
  • Sanitary premises that are free of rodent or insect infestation. F
  • Functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 
  • Working electricity, gas and plumbing facilities. 
  • Effective weather protection and waterproofing of walls and roofs.
  • A sufficient number of garbage receptacles.

3. Anti-Discrimination Laws

According to the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on certain protected classes. This includes:

  • Race/color/national origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Citizenship Status
  • Prior convictions (unless certain requirements have been met)
  • Prior arrests or criminal accusation
  • Use of a service dog
  • Military status or service
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation (includes perceived sexual orientation.)
  • Familial status
  • Genetic characteristics

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4. Security Deposits

Landlords in New York, just like everywhere else in the country, collect security deposits. It’s not required, but it’s very common. Landlords may collect security deposits for a number of reasons, including to:

  • Repair any damage that might occur to personal property. 
  • Fix any damage that exceeds normal wear and tear that the tenant has caused due to negligence. 
  • Clean the rental premises if a tenant moves out without properly doing so. 
  • Cushion themselves from income loss when a tenant breaks the lease.

5. Rights to Withhold Rent

New York State renters rights include being entitled to live in a property that meets basic habitability standards. If a landlord fails to do so, tenants have a right to pursue several options, including:

  • Fixing the repair issues themselves and deducting the appropriate fees from the rent. 
  • Withholding rent until the landlord fixes the repairs.

6. Small Claims Courts

Security deposit conflicts are fairly common in the state of New York. A tenant may move out thinking that they have left the property just like they found it. However, the landlord may think otherwise and deduct a portion of their security deposit to cater for some repairs. 

Small Claims Courts are established to determine who is right in these situations. Small Claims Courts in New York allow lawsuits amounting up to a maximum of $10,000. 

Disclaimer: This blog shouldn’t be used as a substitute for qualified legal advice from a licensed attorney. Laws keep on changing, and this blog might not be up-to-date when you read it.

Please get in touch with us if you need property management services in New York.