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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.

Areas for possible conflicts between landlords and tenants

Various news media outlets have reported on several landlord-tenant issues after the law was signed. They include:

  • Application fees: The new law says “no landlord, lessors, sub-lessor or grantor” can charge more than $20 for a background check on a potential tenant and must waive the fee if the applicant has proof of a background or credit check done within the past 30 days.
  • Security deposits: Landlords can’t charge more than one month’s rent for a deposit and must return it within 14 days of a tenant vacating an apartment. If they deduct any amount, they must include an itemized statement showing why it was necessary.
  • Rent hikes: Increases are decided by the Rent Guidelines Board, and temporary preferential rent amounts are now permanent and subject to limits for any future increases.
  • Building improvements: Some landlords say limits on rent increases could lead many to pay less for maintenance and upgrades to rental properties.
  • Vacant apartments: The Blackstone Group told one news outlet that it is keeping dozens of rent-controlled apartments vacant as new laws prevent them from making profits.

Seek legal advice over TPA concerns

Landlords can be best-served by a legal advocate who understands how the new laws will impact them now and in the future. The TPA has brought new and complicated challenges for real estate owners, who can significantly benefit from an attorney here in New York with decades of experience protecting their rights.

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