Because renting in New York can be so competitive, some tenants feel like their landlord is “the boss.” However, it’s important to remember that you have rights as a tenant, and your landlord cannot just do whatever they want. Here are three important facts about landlord/tenant laws in New York:
#1: Your landlord can’t just kick you out
Your landlord has the right to evict you if they receive a court order called a “warrant of eviction.” To get this warrant, your landlord must take you to court and prove their case against you. Evictions are only granted if the lease has expired, the tenant has withheld rent or the tenant has violated the lease severely.
If your landlord has told you to leave, changed the locks or moved your possessions in an attempt to kick you out of your apartment, they are breaking the law. Landlord/tenant laws are strict about how a landlord must go about legally evicting a tenant.
#2: Your landlord must give notice to enter
Nobody likes a landlord that enters their apartment unexpectedly, but some tenants falsely believe that they must put up with it. In fact, landlords can only enter tenants’ apartments if there is a specific reason to do so like a repair or to show the apartment to future tenants. Your landlord must give you reasonable notice before they enter.
#3: Your landlord must provide a safe and livable environment
Your landlord cannot cut off utilities such as electricity and hot water to your apartment or do anything else that would result in an unlivable environment. Specifically, landlords in New York are required to provide hot water 365 days a year.
Compensation for illegal landlord actions
You may be able to pursue compensation for the financial damages and emotional distress caused by an abusive landlord. Illegal landlord actions may also result in the denial of an eviction petition.