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New York Landlord/Tenant FAQs

May 24, 2016 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

Whether you are new to being a landlord in New York or you are a seasoned landlord with a few questions and concerns, the attorneys at Griffin Alexander can help you with your landlord-tenant issues. The following common questions and answers are provided to help landlords gain a better understanding of New York landlord-tenant law.

However, this information is not meant to serve as a substitute for speaking with a skilled attorney. Contact our office today to discuss your specific situation and how New York law may apply to your situation.

What deductions can be made from a tenant’s security deposit?

In general, landlords are allowed to make deductions from a tenant’s security deposit to cover charges related to repairs for damages caused by the tenant (other than normal wear and tear) and/or unpaid rent amounts. Under New York law, landlords must return a tenant’s security deposit in full.

If any deductions are made from the deposit, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with an itemized list of the deductions which clearly explains the reasons for the deductions. Further, under New York statute, a landlord may keep 1% of the security deposit each year and deduct from the interest as an "administrative fee." The remainder of the interest must be provided to the tenant.

Are landlords required to repair everything that fails in a tenant’s unit?

Landlords must maintain a rental property in a “habitable” condition. This means that the rental must be in good repair and meet basic safety standards, as well as normal structural and health standards. That said, if a landlord fails to perform important maintenance or repairs, such as fixing a broken heater or a leaking roof, the tenant has the right to either withhold his or her rent until such repairs have been made or the tenant can choose to have the issue fixed on his or her own and deduct the amount paid for the repair from the rent.

Are there limitations on the amount of rent that can be charged?

The answer to this question depends on the type of unit being rented. If the unit is not rent controlled, a landlord is free to charge any amount for rent. However, if a unit is subject to rent control, the law governs the amount of rent that a landlord can charge. The maximum amount of rent for rent controlled units are established by the Rent Guidelines Board; however, landlords are allowed to request rent increases to perform certain kinds of improvements that will ultimately benefit all tenants in the building.

At what point can a tenant be evicted?

Under landlord-tenant law, landlords can seek to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent or holdover situations. Nonpayment of rent occurs when a tenant becomes delinquent on his or her monthly rent payments. In some situations, the issue is resolved or settled by the landlord and tenant; however, in cases where the dispute cannot be resolved, the landlord can choose to move forward with eviction proceedings.

Holdovers generally, involve a situation in which the tenant has violated the lease in a way other than nonpayment of rent. Such situation may include a tenant subletting the unit without the landlord’s permission or keeping a pet in the unit without obtaining prior permission.

If you own a rental property and you have questions about your options and rights as a New York landlord, contact Griffin Alexander, PC today.

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