NY Landlords and Tenants: Know Your Rights

Disagreements between landlords and tenants are common, but they can be prevented if both parties understand their rights and obligations. In this guide, we’ll go through landlord and tenant rights in New York.

Do note that city laws may vary slightly from state laws, and landlords are mandated to comply with both state and local regulations.

Habitability and repairs

Under the warranty of habitability, tenants are legally entitled to a safe, livable, and sanitary apartment. Any lease or rental agreement that rejects this right is considered void.

Landlords are responsible for keeping the property’s public areas clean, structurally sound, and free of vermin, garbage, or other hazardous material. They’re also required to maintain plumbing, heating, electrical, and ventilating systems in good working order.

Any repairs must be completed within a reasonable time. Tenants may withhold rent until repairs are made. They also have the right to voice out complaints regarding the property to their local housing authorities.

However, the warranty of habitability does not cover damages caused by the tenant or persons under the tenant’s control. In such cases, it is the tenant’s responsibility to take care of the necessary repairs.

Rental payment and receipt

In New York, landlords may charge any amount of rent, provided the apartment is not subject to rent stabilization. Otherwise, the initial rent and subsequent rent increases are regulated by law and may be disputed by a tenant at any time.

Tenants are entitled to a written receipt whether they paid rent in cash, cashier’s check, or money order. Those who settle their balance by personal check may request in writing a receipt from their landlord.

Late fees

Rent is legally due on the date stated in your lease or rental agreement. However, late fees can only be charged if they are made five days after the agreed-upon due date.

Late fees cannot exceed 5% or $50 of the monthly rent. Most landlords would either base late fees on a fixed percentage, fixed dollar amount, or a combination of the two.


A tenant cannot be evicted until their lease expires, provided they do not breach any provision of the lease or any local housing codes or laws. In the event of a violation, the tenant is given 10 days to correct the problem.

If the tenant fails to resolve the violation within the ten-day period, the landlord must provide a notice of termination, which gives the tenant at least 30 days to vacate the premises.

Landlords of rent-regulated apartments may have to seek approval from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal before starting a court proceeding for possession. This is usually seen in cases involving demolition.

However, the owner may proceed directly to court if a tenant:

  • Fails to pay rent or habitually misses payments
  • Causes nuisance to other tenants
  • Causes damage to the property
  • Uses the Property for Illegal Purposes

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