After much opposition, the New York State Legislature recently passed new rent laws that offer more protections to tenants located in New York City. The underlying goal of the new laws is to maintain affordability and stability in a city which nearly 65 percent of residents are renters.
One of the first changes that new renters will notice is that security deposits in New York City are now limited to one month’s rent. Additionally, the landlords must return them within 14 days of the tenant leaving the unit. Along with the return of the money, the landlord must provide an itemized statement covering any deductions made to the security deposit.
The largest, and somewhat controversial change, is that landlords must give at least 30 days’ notice to tenants if they intend to raise the rent of a unit by more than 5 percent. That time frame increases if the tenant has been in the apartment for a while. For example, if the tenant has been in the apartment for one to two years they are entitled to 60 days’ notice. If they have been in the apartment for more than two years, then they will need to receive 90 days’ notice.
Furthermore, the protections in the law apply all the way through eviction proceedings. The new law gives judges the leeway to postpone evictions for up to one year if the tenant is unable to find somewhere nearby to live. This is an increase from 6 months which was previously allowed. In making that determination, the judge will be able to consider how the eviction will affect the tenants’ health and well-being. An analysis will include reviewing all aspects of a move such as whether there are children attending a school, and therefore, a need to find an apartment located within the district. Moreover, unlawful evictions of a tenant are now a misdemeanor. The penalty to a landlord who improperly evicts a tenant are now subject to civil penalties between $1,000 and $10,000.
Tenants of rent regulated apartments will also be given new protections in the bill. The primary change is that rent regulated apartments cannot be deregulated if the monthly rent, or a tenant’s income, exceeds certain financial thresholds. Instead, rent regulated apartments will remain regulated regardless of the rent or the tenant’s income.
While the new laws passed by the legislature provide many protections to tenants, there are individuals who feel the new laws will greatly affect the housing market of New York City. Opponents argued that the rules are too restrictive and do not incentivize the creation of new apartments, or the upkeep of existing apartments. Supporters of the law argue that the laws restrict landlords from raising rent and making room in the apartments for only higher-paying tenants. While it is still to be seen, there is an anticipation that numerous lawsuits will be filed challenging the new laws.
If you have questions regarding your rights as a landlord or tenant, you should seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling landlord/tenant disputes. Contact the skilled New York City landlord-tenant attorneys at the Law Office of Tanya Hobson-Williams. Please contact us online, toll-free (866) 825-1529 or (718) 210-4744 to discuss your rights as a tenant and the solutions available to you.