New York Tenant Rights – What You Need To Know
This past June, Gov. Cuomo passed new housing laws regarding New York Tenant Rights, that will effect landlord and tenant relations throughout the state. Most of these laws became effective this June, and the rest becoming effective this October. Below, I will link to this information, but first I will highlight a few things I find to be most pertinent for landlords to consider going forward.
This New York Tenant Rights pamphlet was put together by The Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, LLC., with the intention of advising tenants of their new rights under these new laws. I think it provides valuable insight on what a tenant should expect from their landlord under these laws, at least from the perspective of New York State.
All too often, landlords perceive their relationships with their tenants as black or white; they pay rent or they don’t, they flush foreign objects down the toilet or they don’t. Well, this is generally true. However, how landlords operate in the grey area, when the situation is not black and white, can often determine their successes or failures.
Laws are generally black and white, especially New York Tenant Laws, but understanding what a tenant expects from a landlord can be a window into a symbiotic relationship with your tenants. Take a look at the pamphlet yourself, for a full read, but feel free to check out my 3 Biggest Takeaways below.
#1 – 30/60/90 Notices
This one is simple, but I assure you there will be plenty landlords who get this news once its too late, in court. Now, if a tenant has occupied a unit for less than 1 year, they require a 30 day notice to vacate. Tenants who have occupied a unit longer than 1 year, but less than 2 years require a 60 day notice to vacate. Finally, tenants who have occupied a unit for more than 2 years require a 90 day notice to vacate.
Obviously, a notice to vacate brings the possibility of a tenant refusing to pay you. We all know where that lands you…. so this is scary to a lot of us. Landlords will need to adjust, and forecast accordingly.
#2 – Wrongful Eviction = Criminal Offense
Failure to abide by the new laws set forth pertaining to New York Tenant Rights can result in a misdemeanor offense for the landlord. These laws are intended to protect tenants, and everyones right to be treated fairly when seeking housing. I think the vast majority of us understand that. However, the fear, at least one of my fears, is that an innocent slip up on not adjusting the verbiage within a lease can lead to a ‘wrongful eviction’ and an otherwise obedient landlord to be charged with a criminal offense. Be diligent.
#3 – The Importance of the 5 Day Notice
It appears as if failure to provide an initial 5 day notice to the tenant for failure of payment may result in the eviction processes being stalled, and ultimately stopped, should the court find no record of a formal 5 day notice. Now, this may be one of those new laws that unintentionally force landlords to be more ‘on their game’ than before. Landlords must be more systematic in order to operate efficiently.
Now those three aspects of the New York Tenant Rights laws were the most important to me. Please click below to read the entire pamphlet, and learn more about these new laws. As always, feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions!