Common Tenant Rights

When renting an apartment it is important to know your rights as a tenant.  If you are renting in New York State, there are several rights that you have the second the lease is signed.  While these rights can vary slightly between cities, the general premise runs through each rental situation.  While a lease agreement may lead to more responsibilities of the landlord, there are three important rights that are in every lease agreement.

Security Deposits

Most residential leases across the state require a security deposit.  The deposit is intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear.  This is also intended to cover any lost rent if the tenant skips out early on the lease without paying.  In New York State, a landlord must deposit security deposits into an account that ensures he or she cannot spend the money. If there are no damages and if the tenant stays for the entirety of the lease, the landlord is required to pay the security deposit back within 45 days.  If the landlord fails to return the security deposit, you may be able to bring a small claims case to get the security deposit back with interest.

Warranty of Habitability

The warranty of habitability is a lease provision that requires the landlord to keep your rental unit habitable.  This requires the landlord to repair or fix issues with hot water, repairs, rodents, plumbing and more.  If your landlord refuses to take care of one of those problems, he or she is breaching that warranty. A breach of that warranty can allow a tenant to take the landlord to small claims court or, in some circumstances, withhold rent until the problem is fixed.

Use of Non-emergency City Services

When a tenant faces issues with their landlord, they may seek intervention.  Just this year, Suffolk County released a new 311 hotline which gives a tenant an outlet to voice their concerns with their landlord. The hotline can be used for things such as reporting a noisy neighbor, but also reporting a landlord who is not responding to your requests.  For instance, if you have plumbing or heating issues that are not being addressed by the landlord, calling 311 may be a solution.  A government official who is staffing the 311 hotline may work as a mediator between you and your landlord.

In all, if you have concerns as a tenant, you may seek the advice of an attorney experienced in landlord/tenant disputes. The Long Island real estate and landlord/tenant lawyers of McGuire, Peláez & Bennett, PC are sensitive to your needs, skilled in handling real estate matters, and will fight zealously for your rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Central Islip real estate lawyers at (631) 348-1702 or fill out our contact form.

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