Rentals

NY’s New Rent Laws Explained

September 24, 2019 by Sami Boutaleb
Midtown Crowd in New York City

New York’s rent laws have recently been changed with the goal of increasing protections for tenants in rent-regulated homes. The goal of these changes, which affect 2.4 million people renting in New York City, is to create more favorable policies for tenants and shift power away from the landlords and building owners.

Groups consisting of building owners and property managers unsuccessfully campaigned against these new tenant protection laws, claiming that it would make removing problematic tenants more difficult and negatively affect their finances.

Here’s a breakdown of the new rental laws in New York:

Application Fees

Application fees are now capped at $20, and this includes fees for credit and background checks. The new laws also state that a landlord must accept a previous credit or background check as long as they were performed within the last 30 days.


Security Deposits

Security deposits are now limited to one month’s rent and must be returned within 14 days of vacating the unit.


Notice

Notice must be provided by landlords if they intend to raise the rent by greater than 5 percent or if they do not intend on renewing the lease.

For leases of less than one year, 30-day notice is mandatory. 60-day notice is required if the renter has lived in the apartment for more than a year, and 90-day notice is required if the renter has lived in the unit for more than 2 years.


New Eviction Protections

Tenants in eviction proceedings now have significantly more protections. While previously a judge could stay an eviction for up to six months, that has now been raised to one year, pending the tenant performs a reasonable search for a similar home.

Eviction court will now take into account a tenant’s health, child enrollment in local schools, and other personal factors when considering the effects of an eviction for the tenant. This is aimed at preventing situations where a child may be forced to move in the middle of a school year and instead provide a more stable process of eviction.


Lease Violations

Previously, tenants had only 10 days to fix any violations of their lease. This period has been raised to 30 days in order to give tenants more time to address violations.


Tenant History

In the past, landlords would add renters to blacklists if they deemed them to be problematic tenants. This practice is now banned – landlords can no longer deny tenants due to their history in housing court.

Overall, these laws should not only increase the power tenants have while renting in New York but also help set guidelines for how certain situations should be dealt with between tenants and landlords. What remains to be seen with these new laws is whether the city and state governments of New York will enforce these new protections.