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Queens Landlord-Tenant Dispute Law Blog

What is the legal way for landlords to enter a rental unit?

It is your property. You own it, so you can go inside of a unit whenever you need to, right? Well, sure, it is your property, but your tenants have rights, and one of those is the right to privacy. As a responsible New York landlord, you need to enter your properties occasionally for repairs or maintenance. How can you accomplish this without starting a costly and time-consuming landlord-tenant dispute?

Even though it feels like the law is always on your tenants' side, you have rights, too. You just need to know how to exercise your legal rights without worsening the situation. There are ways to exercise your right to enter the premises reasonably and legally. Below you will find a short outline of when you can enter a rental unit.

  • When an emergency occurs
  • When you need to make repairs or check for damage
  • When you need to investigate possible rental violations
  • When you need to show the unit to potential renters
  • When you need to show the unit to mortgage or insurance companies
  • When a tenant invites you inside

Reducing your legal and financial risks as a New York landlord

Renting out real estate is one of the most successful ways to improve your income. New York landlord-tenant laws are more complex than property laws in many other states. This means that being a landlord in the state is not without some amount of risk.

For example, say a renter initiates a landlord-tenant dispute claiming that your property is unsafe. They refuse to pay any more rent until you give in to their demands. You know you did nothing wrong, but you must still decide how to move forward. Any option you choose is going to cost you money.

Potential landlord-tenant issues from New York’s rent reform

The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (TPA) was signed into law this past June, affecting more than one million apartments in New York City alone. Supporters say the law provides strong protections for tenants and significantly changes the Empire State's rent laws.

However, critics say there is a lot of confusion over the meaning of some of the new rules. The state Division of Housing and Community Renewal recently told the New York Times that it is working to clarify the regulations.

An advocate can help New York landlords avoid legal trouble

Most landlords in Queens may not have a legal advocate to protect their interests. As attorneys, we understand this. After all, legal assistance can be costly and most property owners do not want to spend money unnecessarily. Unfortunately, saving a buck or two right now might cost you more down the line if landlord-tenant disputes arise.

Our city's history is full of stories of tenants suffering abuse or unfair treatment by real estate owners who rent out their property. While slumlords are not as prevalent in today's society, property owners are still suffering the backlash caused by these stories. Many tenants take advantage of property owners because they believe they will win any landlord-tenant dispute that may occur.

3 most common disputes between landlords and tenants

Many disagreements can happen between New York landlords and their tenants due to conflicting views over a lease agreement. Conflicts are frequent between renters and landlords whether it’s over repairs or the return of a security deposit.

Renting is advantageous for those who can’t afford a mortgage or those who often move, helping them avoid costs for major repairs and maintenance. But, conflicts do happen, and both sides should prepare for the most common sources of disagreement.

New York landlords must never discriminate against renters

Landlords have specific responsibilities to meet when they offer a property for residential habitation. Ensuring that you meet these requirements can minimize the chance that you will face legal action brought by a tenant.

Not only do you need to be familiar with the local laws, you also need to know federal and state ones. There are several points that can lead to serious problems if they aren't followed.

Landlords must make reasonable accommodations for tenants

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prevents any landlord from discriminating against potential tenants. That may sound simple and straightforward. However, there are many more aspects of this act that New York landlords must understand, so they can avoid accusations of discrimination.

For example, landlords cannot deny potential tenants housing based on their physical or mental disability. They might also have to provide reasonable accommodations for that tenant.

When tenants don't pay

If you are a Queens landlord, it's certain you've had your share of problem tenants. Unauthorized subletting, slow-pay and no-pay tenants all give New York City landlords headaches.

When the issue is that your tenant quit paying the rent, there is a clear path to eviction. But landlords must first lay the groundwork to make sure that they prevail in the eviction. Below are some suggestions for building a strong eviction case.

Proposed laws may impact landlord/tenant relations

In New York, the relationship between a landlord and tenant can be complex. Both have their own set of expectations regarding what is to take place. Disagreements frequently lead to disputes and even litigation.

A recent article mentions recently proposed changes to landlord/tenant law that could adversely impact this relationship even further. The news article calls these possible changes sweeping, and such legislation could overall increase government control over housing and prevent landlords from raising the rent.

When do you have to let a tenant have an animal in your unit?

As a landlord, it is your obligation to provide safe and clean facilities for the people who rent from you. You maintain the premises and create a lease that outlines your expectations for tenants. Many landlords choose to not allow animals such as dogs or cats in their rental units because of the potential damages animals can cause.

Other landlords do allow pets, but they also charge a special pet deposit which may be non-refundable, as well as an additional fee each month, sometimes per pet. Whether you allow pets or do not allow pets, there are circumstances in which a tenant can compel you to allow an animal in your rental unit. Understanding those circumstances can help you address them appropriately.

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