A New York Rental Lease Agreement is for a property owner or manager to authorize a tenant to rent a commercial or residential property. The process of leasing a residential or commercial property are often extremely different, due to the variety of laws governing both. Leases for apartments which are not rent stabilized may be oral or written but in order to avoid disputes the parties may wish to enter into a written agreement. The information provided on this page should act as a guide to highlight some of the principal rights of residential and commercial tenants in this state. The state of New York is widely known for its rent stabilization, rent control or other rent regulations that have special rules under federal, state, and local laws.
In New York, a Rental Lease Agreement authorizes a tenant to use a property in exchange for rent. As every lease is different, it is imperative that a tenant be aware of the language, terms and conditions in the lease before signing. A lease shall lay out the premises, identify the names and addresses of the parties, the rent amount and due dates, condition of the property, and the entitled rights of each party. Due to the presence of New York City, there are often a large number of local statutes and limitations that a tenant should be aware of.
Form Description Types
New York Rental Laws
- N.Y. Real Prop. Law 220 to 238; Real Prop. Acts 701 to 853
Rent Regulated Housing
Rent regulation was created in New York post WWII as an emergency housing plan to ease the financial burden for tenants, especially in New York City but it’s also common in parts of Albany, Erie, Nassau, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Westchester counties. The two most important of which are Rent Control and Rent Stabilization. Deregulation occurs when any apartment with a monthly rent of $2,000 or more per month becomes vacant.
An apartment under rent control is limited in the amount an owner can charge for rent. The rent control program covers buildings built before February 1947 which haven’t declared an end to the postwar rental housing emergency. In order for a tenant to receive rent control assistance, the tenant must have been living there since 1971. Owners may increase the base rent every two years to adjust to the operating costs which can be challenged by the tenant. If a tenant chooses to end their lease, the owner has the right to take the property out of the rent control program.
Buildings of six or more units built between February 1, 1947 and December 31, 1973 can be rent stabilized in NYC. This also applies to tenants living in buildings built prior to February 1947, who moved in after June 30, 1971. Buildings with 3 or more units constructed or extensively renovated post January 1974 also can be eligible for rent stabilization and tax benefits.
Under New York state law there is no limit to how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. However, in New York there are often local city and county statues and laws that can put a cap on security deposit, and both landlord and tenant should be aware of. The lease should specify the amount of the deposit and the name and address of the financial institution where the money is being held.
If the building has 6 or more unregulated (non-rent controlled) units, the landlord must pay the tenants annual interest, which can either be paid in a subtraction from rent at the end of the year, or paid when the tenant vacates, whichever the tenant chooses. A security deposit must be paid within forty five (45) days of the tenant vacating. If the landlord wishes to subtract money for cleaning or repair damage he must give the tenant an itemized list of all claimed deductions.
A lease should specify how much rent is and when it is due. Failure to pay may result in a late fee. In rent controlled housing a late fee cannot be more than five (5) percent, unless provided for in the lease. In unregulated units there is no limit to the amount a landlord can charge for a late fee, but it must be provided for in the lease. If a lease does not provide for a late fee, the landlord cannot charge a late fee.
New York state does not have a state law requiring any specific amount of notice before rent increases. In a Month to Month Lease, unless the lease states otherwise, the amount required is the same as the rental period, one month. In a Standard One Year Lease, the rent and terms cannot be altered until the lease has been terminated and renewed, unless the lease provides for an increase.
If rent is paid in any form other than personal check, such as cash or money order, the landlord is required to give the tenant a written receipt containing the date rent was paid, the amount of rent and the address of the property. If the property is located in New York City, the receipt must also include the name and address of the owner and managing agent.
In order to evict a tenant the landlord must have a third party serve the tenant with 2 papers. The first is a Notice of Petition, informing the tenant of his court date, the second is the Petition, informing the tenant of the reason for his eviction. Both of these papers must be served no later than 5 days before the Court date and the Court date cannot be more than 12 days after these papers are served. The landlord is not legally permitted to attempt to force the tenant out by changing the locks, turning off electricity or other utilities, or removing the tenants possessions.
It is illegal to deny housing or raise the rent on a tenant for the following reasons:
- Age, color, race, national origin, creed, sex, sexual orientation, family status, religion, creed, marital status, military status, physical or mental disability.
Landlord Entering Your Home
A landlord may only enter a property unannounced to make emergency repairs. For non-emergency repairs or inspections, the landlord must give 24 hours written notice and must arrive at a reasonable time for a reasonable reason.