New Rent Laws — Are You Aware of the Updates?

There have been a few important changes to New York Rent Law. These are exciting and important, as they’re designed to protect you and the space you live in! Read on to find some of the most important points. Be sure to keep this information in your records, as well, so you can look back on it as needed in the future. It’s your job to protect yourself, and we want to help you do just that.

Security Deposits Have Been Capped at One Month’s Rent

This rule makes it more affordable to move into a new rental. The security deposit, or advanced payment, cannot exceed one month’s rent. Therefore, your landlord can no longer charge you the last month’s rent upfront — only first month’s rent and security.

Reduced Fees for Background Checks and Late Payments

Before you sign your lease, your landlord can only charge up to $20 for a credit and background report. You also have the option to provide these yourself, if you can do so for cheaper. The report just needs to be less than thirty days old.

And once you’re in your rental, late fees cannot be charged unless you’re over five days past your rent due date. The max fee is $50 or 5% of your monthly payment — whichever is less.

Tenant Blacklists are things of the Past

You cannot be denied a rental because of lawsuits against your past landlords. This is easier to enforce, as the landlord needs to give a good reason for denying you if they pass by your application after the tenant screening. If a lawsuit is your only negative point, they can be fined.

It’s Easier to Break Your Lease

If you leave your lease early, your landlord needs to make a “good faith effort” to fill the vacancy. If they find someone who is paying the same amount of rent as you (or more), you’re free from your lease.

It’s Easier to Get Your Security Deposit Back

Landlords have 14 days to issue your security deposit. They need to provide an itemized receipt for any charges taken from the fund. To save money, you can request a walkthrough before your move-out date, and your landlord must let you know what to do to earn back as much of your deposit as possible.

Required Written Notices

You are entitled to rent receipts, which you can then keep in your records for eviction protection. You are also entitled to written notice of late rent.

You’ll receive written notice of rent increases over 5% and leases that will not be renewed (30-90 days depending on how long you’ve lived in your current home).

Rent Increase Updated

Rent increases cannot exceed 7.5% or the average of the five most recent Rent Guideline Board annual increase amounts, whichever is less.

Improvement-Related Updates:

In rent-regulated apartments, landlords can increase monthly rent due to improvements (which is called an MCI). This is now capped at 2% per year, and cannot be used for fixing hazards or other living essentials. 

If it is only your apartment being improved (IAI), your rent can only raise by $82.29 per month to $83.33 per month, depending on the percentage of rent-regulated homes in your building.

And if you pay preferential rent, your landlord is not allowed to bump you up to legal rent. They can only raise your payment by the amounts listed above.

No Vacancy or Longevity Bonuses

Landlords may not raise rates due to vacancies, or on leases that have existed for over 8 years (both of which were previously allowed).

Eviction Protection

If you are evicted, you can ask the judge for up to one year to move. They will consider you not being able to find a similar place in the same neighborhood, health conditions, your children’s school, and any other hardships that may be occurring.

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