Navigating The Rental Landscape By Understanding Landlords’ Rights

Living in New York not only immerses you in a cultural and professional hub and an opportunity for real estate investments. With more than 3.1 million occupied housing units in New York City and over two-thirds rented, landlords play a crucial role in the housing dynamics. As a landlord, it’s vital to understand both your rights and responsibilities. This ensures that your venture in the New York property market is rewarding and compliant with the law. In this blog, we shed light on landlords’ rights and when seeking legal counsel to navigate tenant/landlord relations might be prudent.


Know Your Rights

Although seemingly tilted in favor of protection of tenants, New York’s housing laws actually safeguard tenants and protect landlords, ensuring what is meant to be a balanced rental ecosystem. As a landlord, you should be familiar with these pivotal rights:


Right to rent collection: While the current reality is that tenants can find ways to live in New York living for months without paying rent, landlords do have the right to regular and punctual rent collection as per the lease agreement if there is one, or on a month-to-month basis in the absence of a written lease.

  • Right to select tenants: While discriminating based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or family status is illegal, in “free market apartments”, landlords can, for the most part, choose tenants based on their ability to pay rent, rental history, and references.  However, recent changes to the law have greatly impacted landlord’s rights in this area.  Staying abreast of all recent developments in the law is imperative for any landlord, even small landlords.
  • Security deposit management: While there are stipulations around how much you can charge, you have rights regarding security deposits, such as deductions for repairs or unpaid rent, provided it’s done within the legal framework.
  • Eviction rights: If tenants breach the lease terms, do not pay rent, or do not have a lease, landlords have the right to evict, but this must be done legally and not as retaliation.


When to Consult Legal Counsel 

Knowledge is power, but sometimes, situations call for professional intervention. Here are scenarios when landlords might consider seeking legal advice:

  • Handling evictions: If a tenant fails to pay rent in a timely manner, refuses to vacate, or refuses to pay an increase in rent, seeking legal advice can ensure that you take the proper steps in dealing with your tenant.
  • Reviewing lease agreements: Before sealing the deal with a tenant, having an attorney review the lease can prevent potential pitfalls or liabilities.
  • Addressing property damage or repair disputes: Legal counsel can provide clarity if there’s a disagreement over who’s responsible for repairs or damages.
  • Guidance on rent regulations: Understanding the correct procedures for rent increases can save potential legal issues, this is especially true if your property falls under rent stabilization or control.


Engage with a Trusted Legal Team

Knowledge of your rights as a landlord is the first step. Partnering with a reputable legal firm, like Drucker & Mattia, PLLC, is the next. Whether you need guidance on lease terms, resolving disagreements, or understanding intricate rental laws, our team is ready to assist. Schedule a consultation with us today to ensure your rights as a landlord are always upheld.

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When you’re facing legal issues or pursuing a lawsuit, skilled legal counsel makes a big difference. At Drucker & Mattia, PLLC, we specialize in a wide range of legal areas to meet the needs of a diverse client base.

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