Westchester County, New York Landlord-Tenant Law

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 laws. The New York landlord-tenant law is detailed and outlines what rights and responsibilities each party has in regard to the lease 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.

New York 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 unit 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 real estate unit. 
  • Inform the landlord when they will be away for an extended period of time. 
  • Tell their landlord when repairs and maintenance are required. 
  • Not disturb the peace and quiet of another tenant. 
  • 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 a notice by a tenant who is leaving town for an extended period of time. 
  • Accessing a unit to make needed inspections and repairs. 
  • Use the tenant’s security deposit to pay for unpaid rent and/or excessive damages. 
  • Receive rent payments on-time.
  • Screen all prospective tenants that apply to live in their rentals. 

Landlords are required 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

Here are the disclosures that every New York landlord must make to their tenants before signing a lease. 

  • Details pertaining to the security deposit. 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.
  • 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 a 24-hours’ notice. Common reasons why landlords may need to enter units include:

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

In addition to sending a 24-hours’ notice, you must also ensure that you enter at a reasonable time. That is to say, during the day on weekdays, and not early in the morning or late in the evening.

 

2. Maintenance 

As a landlord, you must provide properties that are habitable. The following are some of the things that deem a rental 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

In New York, landlords must collect security deposits. It’s not required, but it’s very common. A landlord may collect security deposits for a number of reasons, including to:

  • Repair any damage that might occur. 
  • 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. Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent

New York State tenant rights include being entitled to live in a rental property that meets basic habitability standards. If landlords fail 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 Court

Security deposit conflicts are fairly common in the state of New York. A New York tenant may move out thinking that they have left the unit 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. The Small Claims Court in New York allows 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 lawyer. Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, and laws in general, keep on changing, and this blog might not be up-to-date when you read it.

If you have any questions regarding the landlord-tenant laws, please get in touch with us or a lawyer today.