Investing in real property is a lucrative financial endeavor for landlords across the U.S. New York is a popular state for investing due not only to the major hub in NYC, but also because of high-value properties located outside the city. The average rent price New York reports is nearly $1,700 per month, while the average rent price Manhattan reports is almost $3,500. These high rates are very attractive for landlords looking to generate reliable rental income that they can then use to pay off mortgage debt or invest in even more properties.
However, if you own and rent properties in New York, you should know that there are many laws that govern the way you operate your rental properties and treat your tenants. These laws are the New York landlord-tenant laws, and they cover everything from security deposits to tenant screening and evictions.
If you aren’t familiar with these laws, you could face serious legal consequences. For this reason, it’s critical that you know and understand them.
Below are the top landlord-tenant laws to know in the state of New York.
Rent, Deposits, and Fees
One important legal regulation to know in New York is rent control regulations. Rent control is permitted in New York, and several cities do have active laws that control the price of rent. Be sure to research the law in your specific city to find out if there are rent control ordinances you must abide by.
The state of New York also regulates late fees, application fees, and grace periods. Late fees are limited to $50 or 5% of monthly rent (whichever is less), while application fees are limited to the lesser of $20 or the actual cost of running tenant screening checks. There is also a mandatory 5-day grace period in New York, so landlords cannot enforce late fees or send eviction notices for nonpayment until rent is five days late.
Leases are a fundamental agreement between a landlord and a tenant. It makes sense that some aspects of these agreements would be regulated by state governments.
In New York, there are several landlord disclosure requirements for lease agreements. Required disclosures are specific statements or information which landlords are required to include in the lease before renting to a tenant. They often pertain to environmental hazards, building inspections, available tenant rights and remedies, and the like.
In New York, there are nine required disclosures, pertaining to:
- Lead-based paint hazards
- Security deposit receipts
- Rent receipts
- Bedbug infestations
- Sprinkler systems
- Certificates of occupancy
- Reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities
- Source of income rights
Be sure you’re aware which information you’re required to disclose to your tenants.
Perhaps some of the fiercely defended of the New York state landlord tenant laws are fair housing laws. Fair housing laws apply primarily during tenant screening, but also during the entire length of a tenancy. Unfair discrimination is illegal, and New York provides more protections for tenants than most other states.
Landlords in all 50 states are prohibited from discriminating in housing based on:
- National origin
- Familial status
These protections are guaranteed by the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). However, New York, and all other states, has its own fair housing act. New York’s fair housing laws also prohibit housing discrimination based on:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Military status
- Marital status
- Source of income
- Domestic violence victimhood
Further, there are also federal regulations regarding the fair use of credit reports and criminal background checks during tenant screening. If you aren’t familiar with these laws, be sure to visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s guidance on using these reports fairly.
Evictions are highly regulated across the U.S. This article won’t go through the entire New York eviction process, as there are many steps in the process and laws to govern them. However, there are three primary eviction notices you should know in New York:
- 14-day Rent Demand Notice – Also known as a “pay-or-quit” notice, this notice is sent to tenants who are late on rent. You must wait at least 14 days before filing for eviction.
- 30-day Notice for Lease Violation – Also known as a “cure-or-quit” notice, this one is for lease violations other than nonpayment. You must give tenants at least 30 days to correct the breach.
- Unconditional Notice to Quit – This one applies when a tenant engages in criminal activity on the premises. There is no notice period in New York for an unconditional quit notice, so you may file for eviction immediately after serving the notice.
Understanding the law isn’t only the responsibility of your lawyer. Ultimately, it’s you who will face the penalties if you violate one of the landlord-tenant laws in New York. By reading this article and staying up to date on new bills that affect your region, you are safeguarding your rental business for the years to come.