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New Rental Laws in New York City (2019)

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  • New Rental Laws in New York City (2019)

    What are the community's thoughts on these "sweeping" new changes to rent regulations in New York? Personally, despite all the hysteria among landlords and REBNY, I think most people (who aren't lucky enough to be in a rent controlled or rent stabilized apartment, or a landlord) won't be affected by this. The only real effect I see on regular people are the fact that all rentals are now limited to a maximum of one month's security deposit.

    However, clearly the Real Estate Board of New York doesn't agree with me. Here's what they said:

    STATEMENT FROM REBNY PRESIDENT JOHN H. BANKShttps://rebny.com/content/rebny/en/n...m_medium=email

    I've also linked below the full law for anyone interested. It's quite long so I suggest reading the REBNY Cliff Notes above.

  • #2
    Actually, the change in law around the security deposit is quite important, and it protects all tenants, not just rent regulated tenants. Now the security deposit is limited to a maximum of one month's rent, plus the landlord has 14 days to return the tenant's security deposit. In this 14 day period, the landlord can send an itemized list of repairs that the security deposit is used for, and give a check for the balance.

    This is actually way better than the status quo, in which there really wasn't a specific time limit for landlords to return a tenant's security deposit. Generally speaking, a reasonable time for the return of a tenant's security deposit was 30-60 days, and many landlords followed the 30 day custom. However, there was definitely quite some abuse by landlords in basically never giving security deposits back to tenants. Plus, tenants used to not have much luck in courts getting it back!

    With this new rule however, the pendulum has shifted. Now landlords are complaining that they won't have enough time to inspect the apartment after the tenant vacates, get quotes for repairs and get all their accounting done in time for the 14 day limit. So ironic!

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    • #3
      There are some other important changes from New York's new rent regulations that protect all tenants, market rate and rent regulated.

      A ban on housing court checks:

      Landlords are now banned from using tenant "blacklists" to weed out tenants that have been to housing court before. It'll be illegal for landlords to go through court records or use a middleman like a tenant screening office to find out if you've sued or been in housing court before, and then use that information to refuse renting an apartment to a tenant. The fine for flouting this will be $1,000. To be seen how strictly this will be enforced, or even how it will be enforced!

      A limit to late fees:

      There's now a cap on late charges that landlords can charge tenants. You actually can't be assessed a late fee at all unless you're late on your rent payments by at least 5 days. Even then, the maximum late fee is $50 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is less.

      A cap on the amount of the security deposit:

      As discussed by previous posters, landlords can now only ask for a maximum of one month's rent for the security deposit. This stops the practice of some landlords asking for more, like 1.5 months or even 2 months of security deposit. Some landlords have even asked for more for special situations, such as a tenant not meeting income requirements or credit checks. You can now request a walk-through before renting an apartment, and a walk-through when you vacate the apartment, just like you do when renting a car. The landlord is required to give you an itemized statement of any damages and the cost of repair for each item within 14 days, otherwise the landlord will forfeit their right to keep any of the security deposit.

      Landlords required to try to re-rent apartment if tenant breaks lease:

      Landlords are now required to try to re-rent an apartment if a tenant breaks a lease early vs sitting on the empty apartment and suing the tenant for unpaid rent. Keep in mind that if the landlord manages to re-rent the apartment but at a lower rental rate, the original tenant might still be liable for the difference in damages to the landlord. This conceivable could make it quite painless for a tenant to break their lease in our opinion.

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