On June 14, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. This law has brought about the largest set of revisions to Landlord/Tenant law in the state of New York in almost 100 years.
This law has dramatically changed the fundamentals of the legal interactions of landlords and tenants. The key modifications to these laws are as follows:
- Application Charges & Fees
Before the reform, there was no set limit for the amount of money landlords could charge possible tenants. However, under the new Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, landlords can only charge potential tenants a fee equal to the cost of a background check (or $20, whichever amount is less).
In addition, landlords can only collect the fee after providing the applicant with:
- a copy of the results;
- a copy of the receipt; and/or
- a copy of the invoice.
The landlord must also waive the fee if the potential tenant can provide proof of a background check conducted within 30 days prior to the application.
- Security Deposits
In the past, landlords could ask for any amount of money as a deposit. For instance, it was common practice for a lessor to request 2 months (or more) of rent as a security deposit. Additionally, there were no time limits to govern when and/or how these funds would return to the tenant.
The new law places a cap on security deposits. Now, a landlord can only ask for an amount that does not exceed 1 month’s rent. Once a tenancy ends, the landlord is required to return the deposit within 14 days, along with a statement showing any necessary deductions made.
- Notice of Rent Increase or Non-Renewal
Beginning October 12, 2019, the requirement for tenants and landlords alike is to give notice at least 30 days in advance if they have decided to not renew the lease. In addition, tenants whose leases are not renewed or who receive a rent increase greater than 5% must be notified:
- 30 days in advance (if they have occupied their residence for less than 1 year);
- 60 days in advance (if they have occupied their residence for 1-2 years); or
- 90 days in advance (if they have occupied their residence for more than 2 years).
- Duty to Mitigate Damages
In the event that a tenant breaks their lease, the landlord can only collect any rent lost while the unit was vacant. Additionally, the landlord can only recover the exact amount owed when they occupied the unit and cannot ask for an increased price, even if they increased rent in the interim.
- No Eviction Screenings
Landlords are now legally restricted from screening potential tenants for any prior evictions. If a landlord ultimately denies a potential client and it is discovered that they screened this person for prior evictions, they will be in violation of the law and will face repercussions accordingly.
- Eviction Delays
A New York court can now delay an eviction for up to 12 months if the tenant can prove extreme hardship. Examples include:
- if a relocation could affect a tenant’s quality of life; and/or
- a relocation bars a child from enrolling in school.
Dependable Landlord/Tenant Attorneys
Whether you are a landlord seeking legal help with evicting a tenant or vice versa, our eviction lawyers are here for you. We offer strong representation and advocacy to our clients and will defend your rights.
Call our firm today at (845) 203-0997 or contact us online for a consultation.