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Queens Landlord-Tenant Dispute Law Blog

When can your landlord enter your Queens apartment?

Tenants expect privacy when they agree to lease a space. At the same time, landlords want to make sure that their premises are safe and retain their value. There are valid reasons that they have for wanting to get in and inspect their property. Both tenants and landlords alike often ask question where boundaries lie concerning when and why these entries can happen.

While laws and regulations in each jurisdiction may vary, landlords are generally entitled to enter a tenant's space in four primary instances. Property owners can go into a renter's unit if they suspect there are safety or health concerns, to perform maintenance to it, to rent or sell it or if a court order allows them to do so.

Can a landlord put up security cameras?

You own a rental property, and you worry about illegal activity. Maybe there have been some breaking and entering incidents in the area. You don't want it to happen at your property. Both to deter thieves and to make sure you have evidence if it does happen, you decide to put up security cameras.

Can you do that? Someone else lives there. Would having cameras on the property be an invasion of their privacy? You may own the property, but they still have a right to privacy while legally living in your building.

Landlord-tenant disputes: Avoiding a bed bug lawsuit

Queens, New York, is known for making many contributions to the world of music and sports. For example, the punk rock band, the Ramones, hails from the Queens area as do rappers 50 Cent and Nikki Minaj. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld and musician Paul Simon graduated from Queens College. In sports, the Citi Field Stadium – one of the most recognizable ballparks in the nation – proudly calls the Queens region home.

Unfortunately, Queens is also known for bed bug infestations within its numerous rental units. These infestations have resulted in litigious landlord-tenant disputes over the years. Landlords are often targeted in these lawsuits, which can result in huge financial losses if the tenant wins his or her case.

New housing laws in New York cause issues for landlords

Landlords help keep the economy of New York going by offering millions of people fair and safe housing. But many of them are concerned about doing business in a new legal atmosphere that may cause new problems between landowners and their tenants.

New tenant protections affecting the city and state of New York are rankling some landlords. They are claiming the new Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, passed in Albany last June, are due to cause friction between them and their tenants.

Why might you need to keep your tenant's security deposit?

Many Queens landlords require their tenants to place a security deposit on their apartment before allowing them to move in. Property owners often have their renters pay a security deposit in order to cover their costs if a tenant doesn't comply with their lease. If they don't, then a landlord may not have to return a tenant's security deposit. Let's look at some examples.

Your rental agreement should detail what constitutes a timely rent payment. If your tenant stops paying on time, then they may be in breach of their contract. You, as the landlord, may be able to keep their deposit and apply it to their outstanding rent.

When can you enter your property legally?

You want to check on your property, but you have tenants in place. You don't want to violate the law, but you have a feeling that there are problems in the home that you haven't been told about. Neighbors have complained about noise, parties and damage to the home, so you want to check things out as soon as possible.

As a landlord, you need to be sure of the law. Your tenants do deserve privacy in their unit, but at the same time, you also have a right to enter with reasonable notice.

Where, when should you take action against a nonpaying tenant?

The change in New York state law last year that limited how much landlords could raise the rent in properties that are rent-regulated were welcomed by tenants throughout New York City and around the state. The new law has had some other impacts.

There's already been a significant increase in lawsuits by tenants alleging that landlords overcharged them for rent. One attorney, whose firm has seen a 30% rise in such claims, says the increase is in part because these claims can now go back six years instead of four. This puts many landlords at a disadvantage because they may not still have the records indicating improvements they made to a property five or six years ago or added expenses from that far back that warranted a rent increase.

Keyless entry systems can pose privacy risks for tenants

If you're the landlord of a newer apartment building, your tenants may use any one or more of "smart access systems" to lock and unlock their doors. Personalized key fobs, smartphone apps and biometric identifiers (like facial recognition technology and eye scans) are becoming more common.

While these new technologies increase convenience for tenants and landlords alike, some people have raised concerns over how much personal data these new technologies can give landlords about their tenants. Moreover, how can landlords use (or misuse) that data?

What are landlords' obligations regarding noisy tenants?

One of the biggest annoyances of living in apartments and other multifamily dwellings in New York City (and anywhere) is the noise from neighbors and their visitors. Whether it's the people living above or below or those in the hallways and outdoor common areas, excessive noise can drive residents crazy.

The most common noise complaints are:

  • Loud TVs and music
  • Heavy footsteps, furniture moving and other sounds on the floor in the unit above
  • Parties and other gatherings
  • Children crying or screaming
  • People shouting at one another

What you need to know before taking action to evict a tenant

Many of the landmark rent laws that took effect this summer in New York were aimed at adding protections for renters. They address things like evictions, notices of rent hikes, security deposits, rent caps and application fees.

The changes, which were fought by the real estate industry and trade groups that represent property managers and landlords, are viewed as a power shift from landlords to tenants -- one that can be seen in other states from coast to coast. Those who opposed the new measures argued that, among other things, they would make it more difficult for landlords to evict nonpaying or otherwise problematic tenants.

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