Under Articles 6 and 8 of New York’s Real Property Laws, landlords have legal rights against tenants who violate lease agreements, extend the lease-term unilaterally or fail to pay rent on time. Landlords may deduct past due rental fees from security deposits or compel eviction through summary proceedings to recover property from holdover tenants or tenants who stay in their rentals without paying rent.
Landlords in New York can enter into both written and oral lease agreements. Landlords that lease rent-controlled apartments must, however, enter into written lease agreements with their tenants. Generally, rent stabilization laws regulate all apartments in New York City if the building contains at least six rental units and was erected between February 1, 1947, and December 31, 1973. New York does not allow landlords to enter into oral lease agreements for tenancies exceeding one year.
With the exception of homes that are subject to strict rent regulations or rent stabilization ordinances, landlords in New York have a right to refuse renewals of their lease agreements at the end of the tenancy period. Landlords have a right to file a judicial order for eviction for holdover tenants that stay longer than their lease terms. Landlords have a right to create a month-to-month tenancy with tenants that stay longer than the lease term if the tenant pays rent and the landlord accepts the monthly payments.
Landlords can collect security deposits for tenants to cover their incidental repair costs and costs of repairing their rentals beyond the normal wear and tear of the property. Landlords may also deduct past due rental payments from security deposits and deduct damage costs for tenants who damage the property or modify the property without the landlord’s consent. Landlords must return any remaining deposit amounts to tenants within a reasonable period after the tenant moves out. Landlords in New York may collect administrative expenses from the security deposit if the fee does not exceed one percent of the deposit amount; typically, landlords in New York charge one month of rent as an upfront security deposit.
Landlords may obtain a summary nonpayment judicial order to evict tenants who fail to make timely rental payments, who violate the lease agreement and who illegally hold over occupancy beyond the allowable rental term. The summary proceedings allow landlords to obtain an expedited order for possession after serving tenants with legal eviction notices. Once landlords obtain the summary nonpayment order, landlords can request a sheriff or constable to evict the tenant through the court order or warrant for eviction.
Although landlords have several legal rights when renting property, New York also contains many strict requirements for landlords including duties to provide habitable housing, to provide necessary repairs and to provide adequate heating. Landlords in New York have duties to provide heating in multiple dwelling properties between October 1 and May 31 and to maintain the heat at a temperature of at least 68 degrees between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees. Additionally, landlords in New York City must comply with the strict city rent control regulations.
Since real estate laws frequently change, you should not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.
Jill Stimson has worked in various property management positions in Maryland and Delaware. Stimson worked for the top three property management companies in the commercial industry and focuses her career on property building logistics and tenant relationships. She holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Science in psychology.