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By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. April 29, 2024 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

On January 17, 2024, New York’s real property law was amended by adding new Article 6-A in New York’s Real Property Law—now called the “Good Cause Eviction Law.” This piece of legislation is aimed at providing greater security and fairness for tenants across the state. As housing rights continue to be a central issue in urban areas, this law is aimed as a step toward stabilizing rental situations and curtailing unjust evictions.

The Good Cause Eviction Law went into effect on April 20, 2024. It applies to all new and renewed leases (unless specifically exempt) in New York City. In addition to applying to New York City, other towns and villages across the State may choose to opt into the law. These municipalities outside New York City can choose to adopt this law through local legislation, allowing for tailored approaches that consider regional housing market conditions.

The law mandates that landlords must show “good cause” for evicting tenants. Good cause can include legitimate business reasons, such as the tenant failing to pay rent, violating lease terms, or engaging in unlawful behavior. However, this law also places significant restrictions on landlords, particularly around rent increases and lease renewals. Landlords are now prohibited from evicting, not renewing a lease, or otherwise removing a tenant without good cause, which is defined as one of the following:

  1. Failure to pay rent.
  2. Violation of a substantial obligation of the tenancy.
  3. Committing or permitting a nuisance.
  4. Permitting the premises to be used for an illegal purpose.
  5. Malicious or grossly negligent substantial damage to the premises or building.
  6. Occupancy is in violation of law and an order to vacate has been issued, unless the condition is created by the landlord, through neglect or otherwise.
  7. Illegal use of the premises.
  8. The tenant has unreasonably refused the landlord access to the housing accommodation for the purpose of making necessary repairs or improvements required by law or for the purpose of showing the housing accommodation.
  9. Premises are to be personally occupied by the landlord or close relatives of the landlord as their primary residence.
  10. Demolition
  11. Withdrawal from the rental housing market.
  12. Failure to agree to reasonable changes to a lease.

In addition to the above, the Good Cause Eviction Law caps rent increases at the lesser of 10% or the inflation index—which is defined as 5% plus the annual percentage change in the consumer price index (“CPI”) unless a higher increase can be justified with proper documentation and reasoning.

When considering if a rent increase is unreasonable, the court must consider several factors, including:

  • property tax expenses and any increases thereto;
  • “significant repairs” where such repairs were not due to a landlord’s failure to maintain; and
  • costs for fuel and other utilities, insurance, and maintenance.

All initial and renewal leases, notices, and petitions for all apartments, even those that are exempt from the law, in New York City and other municipalities that have accepted the law must include the “Good Cause Eviction Law Notice” provided in Section 231-c of the law; if the unit is exempted from the law, the notice must identify the applicable exemption. Exceptions to this law are plentiful and include:

  • owner-occupied premises with less than ten units;
  • units owned by landlords who own less than ten units;
  • premises sublet where the sublessor seeks in good faith to recover possession for their personal use and occupancy;
  • premises incident to employment when such employment is being lawfully terminated;
  • premises otherwise subject to regulation of rent or evictions under state or federal law;
  • units with a monthly rent that is greater than 245% of the fair market rent;
  • buildings for which a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy or Permanent Certificate of Occupancy was issued after January 1, 2009, for a period of thirty years;
  • seasonal use units;
  • units within hospitals;
  • manufactured homes;
  • hotel rooms or other transient uses;
  • dormitories; or
  • units within religious facilities or institutions.

For tenants, the Good Cause Eviction Law offers enhanced protection from sudden evictions and unreasonable rent increases, contributing to more stable living conditions. For landlords, the law demands greater transparency and justification for decisions traditionally made at their discretion.

The effectiveness of this law may depend largely on its implementation and the local adaptations that municipalities outside New York City decide to enact. As such, both landlords and tenants must stay informed about the specifics of how this law is applied in their respective locales.

Obviously, this is a major change. Over fifty (50%) percent of renters outside of New York City and about 784,000 households in New York City are protected by this law. And, these new tenant rights cannot be waived. It is important for anyone involved in property ownership or management to understand the full impact of this decision.

If you believe this new law could affect you and have questions or concerns, Griffin Alexander, P.C., can help. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of Community Association and Landlord-Tenant law. We can help ensure that your property remains in compliance with any and all laws and amendments.

The information in this Client Alert is provided solely for information purposes. It should not be construed as legal advice on any specific matter and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular circumstances. Each legal matter is unique, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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