Landlord and tenant rights in New York City are controlled by two sets of laws.The landlord-tenant laws of New York State regulate many areas of landlord and tenant rights, while the city government adds additional laws for rental agreements.
Warranty of Habitability
A warranty of habitability is a tenant's right to a safe, sanitary and repaired home. This warranty covers both the rental unit and any common areas the tenant has access to. A New York City landlord must keep the home in repair and respond to tenant repair requests. If the landlord fails to do so, a tenant has the legal remedy of rent withholding. Rent withholding is when a tenant does not pay rent until the apartment is repaired.
A New York City tenant has the right to have other occupants in the home. The tenant's minor children and immediate family do not need to be on the lease to legally occupy the home. A tenant is also permitted to have one unrelated occupant living with her. The landlord has the right to the names of all occupants in the apartment within 30 days of a new occupant moving in.
A New York City landlord has the right to require a security deposit in a rental agreement. Security deposits are used to repair and clean the apartment after the tenant leaves the home. There are no limits on the amount a security deposit can be, although generally it is no higher than 1 month's rent. The landlord also has the right to collect an additional amount during lease renewals if the rent increases with the renewal.
Landlords have the right to take eviction action in New York City for nonpayment of rent, breaking lease terms or breaking local housing laws. In most cases, the landlord provides a way for the tenant to stop the impending eviction action by paying back rent or fixing the lease violation. The tenant has the right to defend himself in court, with or without representation, if the eviction proceeds to a hearing. The tenant cannot be forced out of the rental unit without an order of eviction. If the landlord attempts to make the tenant leave, the tenant can sue for triple damages.
Right of Entry
The landlord has a limited right of entry into the rental unit. He can enter the unit for repairs, to show the apartment, or for reasons specified in the lease, such as inspection. The tenant must be informed in advance and entry must take place during reasonable hours. The landlord and tenant laws do not define what "reasonable" means, but usually it means 24 hours' advance notice and entry during normal business hours.