You’re moving to New York and are really excited about it. However, you’re also a bit apprehensive because you’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about renting, with landlords being negligent in the best-case scenarios and even going so far as to force tenants out in the worst-case scenarios.
The good news is that you don’t have to worry because you have plenty of tenant rights in NYC, and it definitely pays to know what they are.
Though you have a lot of renter’s rights in NYC, we will be looking at the most important below. However, remember that this is not a comprehensive list and you should definitely do more research. Thus, by New York law, you have the right to:
One of the most important tenant rights in NYC is the right to fair housing, which means a landlord is not legally permitted to discriminate against you based on your status as part of a protected class.
Thus, according to the fair housing brochure issued by the NYC Commission on Human Rights and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, a landlord cannot discriminate against you based on:
Therefore, a landlord can’t refuse to rent to you based on any of the above. Furthermore, they cannot charge a higher rent, security deposit, or additional fees. It is also unlawful for them to not provide the same services as they would any other tenant, or to fail to make the proper repairs if necessary. If you are disabled, you are also entitled to a home that you can easily access, which means that the landlord is obligated to pay for any physical changes to the building or apartment, or to change their policies so you can keep an emotional support animal, as long as it doesn’t result in undue hardship.
According to the ABCs of Housing issued by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, another of your renter’s rights in NYC is to live in a well-maintained and safe building that doesn’t have any vermin, leaks, or present any other hazardous conditions. Specifically, by law, you have the right to heating, pest control, repairs, mold removal, lead paint removal, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, crime protection, and window guards for children.
In terms of heating, by law, if the temperature drops under 55 degrees in the daytime, between October 1st and May 31st, your landlord is required to heat the building until it reaches 68 degrees indoors. At night, when it drops below 40 degrees, they have to ensure a temperature of a minimum of 62 degrees.
Regarding repairs, landlords have to fix anything that breaks down that affects the quality of your life in terms of your health and well-being. For example, if the heater breaks or your plumbing is backed up, or the roof is leaking, they have to make repairs in a timely manner.
Another of your tenant rights in NYC is the ability to enjoy your apartment in privacy. Some people might find the language used in their lease is confusing, though, as it states that you have the right to the “quiet enjoyment of your apartment.”
This doesn’t actually refer to quiet in the sense of noise, but to the fact that the landlord does have the power to provide you with a valid lease for the property, and that no third party has an interest in the same property that is in conflict with yours.
According to the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the law in New York State says that you have the right to a roommate, regardless of what the lease says if you reside in a privately-owned building and are the only person on the lease. And your co-tenant doesn’t have to be a relative.
Keep in mind, though, that if you are a tenant in subsidized housing, or there is more than one person on the lease, this law does not apply.
Another of your tenant rights in NYC is the ability to sublet your apartment, no matter what your lease says, as long as you are in a privately-owned building that has at least four apartments. You also have to sublet for a minimum of 30 days or more. This law, however, doesn’t apply for subsidized housing or for rent-controlled properties.
Unfortunately, unscrupulous landlords tend to be quite common in New York, especially ones trying to force tenants out so they can charge higher rents or sell the property.
However, by law, landlords are not allowed to force tenants to leave. Furthermore, one of your renter’s rights in NYC is protection from someone who is trying to pressure you into leaving through repeated threats, lockouts, buyout offers, eviction notices or attempts to create conditions difficult to live in and more.
Thus, if your landlord is harassing you, you should consider engaging the services of a tenant lawyer to help you out.
If you are facing an unpleasant situation, such as your landlord trying to pressure you to leave, you have the right to form an association with your neighbors. This helps because there is strength in numbers, and legal costs will also be more manageable.
As you can see, you have lots of renters’ rights in NYC. While these are some of the most important, there are many more that you should research. However, if you want to avoid unpleasant situations in which you actually have to know your tenant rights in NYC, your best option is to find a reputable landlord who would never stoop to unscrupulous practices.
For example, Blueground is a well-known and highly reputable company that rents out beautiful apartments in some of the best locations in New York City. Not only are their apartments fully furnished and equipped, but you also never have to worry about being discriminated against, harassed, repairs not being made, and so on. Tenants have access to their dedicated Client Experience team that respond promptly and with results. Flexible lease durations and no cosigner/lease guarantor clauses make renting easier for Blueground’s NYC tenants.