Renting property in New York can seem complicated, particularly for those who are new to the area. To make sure you know your rights when you're renting, it's important to understand the details of rental agreements in New York. This guide covers the basics of rental agreement laws in the state, including what they should include, how you can dispute them, and when to get advice from a lawyer.

What Is a Rental Agreement?

A rental agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant that outlines the rules and conditions of the rental. The agreement covers the length of tenancy, payment terms, security deposits, rent increases, and other related terms. It also helps protect the landlord and the tenant from disputes or misunderstandings.

The rental agreement is usually in the form of a written contract, which both parties sign. Oral agreements are also valid, but they may not be sufficient if the tenant is demanding more than the landlord originally agreed to.

What Should a Rental Agreement Include?

At a minimum, a rental agreement should clearly define the basic information about the rental, such as the address, the names and signatures of both parties, rental amount, rent payment due date, and any other specific conditions and agreements the landlord and tenant have agreed to.

The rental agreement should also include information about the security deposit. This should include the amount; how it should be paid, e.g., when the tenant moves in or over the course of the tenancy; how it should be returned; when any interest or increase in the security deposit will be paid; and what it can and cannot be used for.

In addition, the rental agreement should list the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant. For example, it should set out the duties of the tenant regarding the upkeep of the property, and to whom the rent should be paid. It should also outline the landlord's obligations, such as the responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment, and the right to collect rent.

Finally, the rental agreement should specify how it can be changed and when it can be terminated, and what notification both parties have to give each other.

What Are the Laws Regarding Rental Agreements in New York?

In New York, the laws regarding rental agreements are set out in the state's Real Property Laws and regulations.

The landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written rental agreement that complies with the state's laws and regulations. The rental agreement must contain the basic information outlined above, in addition to information about any additional fees, such as the rent-to-own option.

In addition, New York has specific laws regarding rent increases and deposits, and these must be included in the rental agreement. The landlord must provide written notice of any rent increase at least two months before the first month in which the higher rent will be charged. For security deposits, the landlord must provide written notice that the deposit has been received and how it will be returned.

How Can I Dispute a Rental Agreement?

If you have an issue with your landlord or tenant, the first step is to clarify the issue with them directly. In some cases, this may be enough to resolve the issue.

If that doesn't work, you may be able to take the dispute to small claims court. However, this is only a viable option if the amount in dispute is less than $15,000.

If the dispute cannot be resolved in this way, you may need to get legal advice. An experienced lawyer can help you negotiate with the other party, and if necessary, represent you in court.

At UpCounsel, we have a large network of experienced business lawyers who understand local regulations and are ready to help you with any rental agreement issue. Whether you need a one-time consult or an entire freelance legal department, UpCounsel's network of experienced lawyers has you covered.


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