The Law Office of Seth Rosenfeld, Esq.
We can answer all your questions in a FREE consultation

Queens Landlord-Tenant Dispute Law Blog

New York rent reform will impact landlords

Affordable housing is a hot-button issue these days. Prospective renters have long been concerned with housing costs and the state of New York is listening. As many current laws come up for renewal in Summer 2019, significant changes could be on the way. Governor Andrew Cuomo has favored rent reform.

Among the issues in the rent reform debate is preferential rent.

Can you get a felony for renting?

Many renters act responsibly, according to the terms of their lease. If you have a rental agreement, you likely pay your rent on time, adhere to the pet restrictions and understand that you will have to pay for any damage you cause to your rental unit.

Likewise, if you are a landlord, you probably take care of your properties. You run background checks on prospective tenants, make necessary repairs and provide notice of upcoming changes that might affect your tenants. While many landlords and tenants work well together, some are not successful.

Can you reduce the number of rent-controlled tenants you have?

Rent control in New York City can make a huge difference in the income you're able to make off your property. While the program is meant to keep rent prices high enough to cover utility and maintenance costs, it's not likely to compare to the market value you could be making on the property.

If you've acquired a property with rent-controlled tenants, check these things to make sure they're entitled to the cost they pay.

Guidelines for keeping and returning a security deposit

The return of a security deposit is one of the most common landlord-tenant disputes. This payment can keep your tenants from costing you extra in repairs.

However, if it's not handled correctly, it could also result in a lawsuit against you. Here are a few guidelines to help you know when you can keep a security deposit and when a tenant needs it back.

What is tenant harassment?

Having a difficult tenant may make a landlord wish there was some way to encourage that tenant to move elsewhere. However, if the tenant believes the landlord is guilty of harassment, it could lead to legal issues. In fact, the tenant may file a claim of harassment in Housing Court. 

Here are actions the law considers to be tenant harassment in New York City.

New secondhand smoke laws for property owners and tenants

No property manager enjoys receiving complaints from an angry tenant against a neighboring tenant. Many complaints seem vindictive, frivolous or overblown; however, legitimate complaints about behaviors that violate lease agreements do occur.

Negotiable tenant complaints

Do landlords have to allow service animals?

Landlords have a right to decide whether tenants can have animals on the property. Some landlords can outright ban pets from the premises while other landlords can create conditions, such as how the pet cannot be a nuisance and put other tenants in danger. 

However, landlords have to allow individuals with disabilities to have service animals on the premises with them even if other tenants cannot have pets. According to the Fair Housing Act, landlords cannot discriminate against people with disabilities, and not allowing someone to have an essential service animal is discrimination. It is vital for landlords to understand these rules, so they do not upset tenants and bring forth a lawsuit.

Why you may want to become a Section 8 landlord

As a New York landlord, you naturally want to maximize the amount of rent you receive for each of your houses or apartment units. You also want responsible tenants who will pay rent on time and not misuse or destroy your property. Have you ever considered becoming a Section 8 landlord? You may discover that this federally funded program gives you the best of both worlds.

If you are unfamiliar with Section 8, the first thing you should know is that Section 8 is the popular name for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which receives its funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Basically, Section 8 allows you to rent your homes and apartments to low-income tenants at fair market value. The government pays the majority, if not all, of the tenants’ rent.

How easy is it to sublet your apartment?

In New York, the short answer to the above question is “not very.” Subleasing in our state is a reasonably complicated process and one which takes a fair amount of time. You cannot simply sublet to someone else on the spur of the moment and ask permission – or forgiveness – later.

In the first place, you must determine if you even have the legal right to sublet your apartment. You do if your apartment is in a building that is privately owned and contains four or more units. You have this legal right even if your lease says otherwise. You also have this legal right if you live in a rent stabilized apartment.

When can landlords enter apartments without permission?

There are many contentious issues landlords and tenants come up against. One that has taken the forefront in New York concerns whether security deposits for apartments are too high. 

Over the course of a lease, a landlord may need to enter the tenant's apartment. In general, landlords have to provide advanced warnings if they require access to the property. For example, if the landlord needs to schedule a non-emergency repair, then he or she should give the tenant about a week's notice. If the landlord needs to show the unit to prospective buyers, then the tenant should know about the viewing 24 hours in advance. However, there are times when permission is not necessary.

FindLaw Network back to top