In 2016, 65% of the population in New York City were renters. Despite the prevalence of renting, there are many misunderstandings involving landlord-tenant law in NYC. Both landlords and tenants have rights. By understanding those rights, you can prevent yourself from being a victim of unfair or illegal practices.
Here a Mark H. Cohen & Associates P.C., our firm wants you to be aware of your rights. We can advise you on the local laws and help you handle any disputes. If necessary, we will go to court to protect you from injustice.
What are Some Basic Tenant Rights?
There are several automatic tenant rights you should know about. Regardless of what your lease agreement states, you are entitled to certain conditions. For instance, every tenant has the right to receive hot water at all times of the day and each day of the week. There are no exceptions to this.
Some examples of automatic rights include the following:
Right to a Safe and Livable Environment
Did your landlord threaten to cut off your utilities? If so, they may be in breach of tenant-landlord law. In New York, it’s illegal to stop a tenant’s utilities. This is due to the fact that landlords must maintain a safe and liveable environment for their tenants. Utilities are required for a residence to be considered both safe and livable.
For instance, a landlord must give you a working heater between the months of October and May. There are minimum temperature requirements depending on the outside temperature and the time of day.
The Right to the Eviction Process
If you have a lease agreement, your landlord cannot just kick you out. Even if you violate your lease agreement, the landlord needs to go through the proper channels.
Therefore, your landlord can’t lock you out or throw your belongings out of your residence. First, they need to issue you a written notice. Then, they can initiate the eviction process through the court.
There are only a few conditions for which a landlord can evict a tenant. They can do so if the lease is up, if the tenant doesn’t pay rent, or if the tenant violates the terms of the lease. However, the landlord still needs to go through the court system to be able to kick you out.
Ownership of the Security Deposit
When you pay your landlord the security deposit, you’re not giving the landlord money to put in their bank. Rather, you’re showing them that you have the money ready. The landlord can only claim the deposit if you need to pay for damages or a broken lease agreement.
Therefore, the landlord must keep the money in a separate bank account. They need to notify you of the location of the account. Furthermore, they can’t spend the money until it is legally theirs. They also must give you some of the interest gained on the deposit.
If all goes well after you leave your residence, you should receive your deposit and applicable interest back within 21 to 45 days of your departure. You do not need to request the money to receive it; your landlord must return it whether or not you ask for it.
What Rights Do Landlords Have?
Just as tenants have rights, landlords also have rights. However, there are fewer automatic protections for landlords than there are for tenants.
One of the most well-known landlord rights is the ability to evict an individual. If someone violates the terms of the lease, the landlord can evict them. But they need to go through the proper channels. For that reason, you should consider working with a Bronx landlord-tenant attorney. They can guide you through the process and prevent you from making a critical mistake.
Landlords also have a right to raise the rent. In New York City, a landlord doesn’t even need to provide advance notice of the increase. However, much like eviction, there are limitations to this right. A landlord can only raise the rent by as much as $1000 in one year. Landlords who have rent-controlled apartments need to comply with those requirements.
Working with an Attorney Experienced in Landlord Tenant Law in NYC
Whether you are a renter or a landlord, you might encounter some legal issues. It’s important to realize that there are laws in place to protect your rights. By working with an attorney, you can learn more about the law and how it can keep you safe.
The law firm of Mark H. Cohen & Associates P.C. is here for you. Thanks to our years of experience, our office is equipped to handle all of your renting troubles. Give us a call today and learn more about how we can help you.