New York Landlord Tenant Laws

Your landlord comes knocking angrily at your door.  You have had some rough patches with him in the past but this time he’s apparently talked to the police and gotten a “Warrant of Eviction” document which he furiously waves in your face.  You barely process the piece of paper in front of you and already frustrated by your landlord’s tone, you yell at him and slam the door, ignoring what you understand to be his ploys to get you out of his building.  

But as you think, you entertain the thought of what might happen if you don’t leave the apartment. Will you be arrested?  Fined?  Thrown out into the street?  It can be difficult to process what’s happening when push comes to shove regarding legal matters.

Maybe you buckle and decide to move out because you don’t want to get into trouble with the law. But should you have?  Was your landlord right?  

The fact is, tenants have rights.  But when faced with legal action and consequences, it’s easy to give way to a lot of anxious thoughts and fail to exercise these rights.  Many tenants don’t understand what rights they have and because they don’t know their rights, they can never discern when a landlord is overstepping his legal boundaries. Of course, these rights differ from state to state. If you’re a tenant in New York, this post is here to help you get informed.

“What are my rights?  And how do I know if my landlord is overstepping his boundaries,” you ask.  Good questions!  Here are some important facts to definitely be in the know about the New York Landlord and Tenant laws.

 

1) My landlord said he cut off my utilities because I complained about some needed repairs in the apartment.  Can he do that?  

No.  It is illegal for a landlord to cut off utilities.

As part of NY state law, landlords are required to provide a safe and livable environment for their tenants.  In addition to the proper security measures, the provision of utilities falls under this category of “safe” and “livable.”  Unless a specific court order spells it out, know that your landlord cannot just decide to cut off your electricity, water, or heat.  

Indeed, property owners in NY are absolutely required by law to provide hot water for 365 days a year at a minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Have you watched Disney’s Frozen?  Do you want to build a snowman?  In your home?  Hopefully, your apartment doesn’t look like Elsa came for a visit, because landlords are obligated to provide heat to their tenants between October 1st and May 31st under certain specific conditions.  

If your landlord cuts off your utilities or fails to provide them in the proper conditions, he is not fulfilling his duty and responsibility as a landlord.

 

2) My landlord keeps threatening to kick me out.  Does he have legal right to do that?

No.  It is illegal for a landlord to simply evict a tenant.

Are your padlocks changed? Are your clothes, books, and furniture outside in a flaming pit over which your landlord is cooking sausages?  While such an occurrence would be quite the sight, your landlord can’t just kick you out and tell you that you have to leave–especially if the lease is not up.  Learn why reviewing a lease before you sign is so important.

There are specific conditions under which a landlord can move a tenant out of his property: 1) If the written lease between a landlord or tenant is up, 2) If a tenant withholds rent from the landlord, or 3) If a tenant has severely violated the lease.

Even when these conditions are met, the landlord must take the tenant to court, win, and receive a court order called a “Warrant of Eviction.”

Outside of all these preconditions, a landlord’s methods to evict a tenant are illegal.  A letter from either a landlord or the landlord’s lawyer is never enough to evict a tenant.  If your landlord’s approach to getting you to move out is through methods previously listed such as cutting off your utilities or locking you out, understand that is illegal according to the New York Landlord Tenant Law.

 

3) I think I pay too much rent.  Can I possibly pay less?

Yes.  A tenant may withhold rent from the landlord under certain conditions.

Again, a landlord has a duty to provide his tenants with livable, safe, and sanitary environments.  Of course, the idea of “livable,” “safe,” and “sanitary” conditions are not fluid or arbitrary terms. These conditions do not change according to a tenant’s preferences; just because the bathroom floor is not donned with the Apple Store’s trademark Pietra Serena sandstone doesn’t mean you can withhold rent from the landlord.

Livable, safe, and sanitary means the landlord needs to properly manage the security of the building as well as maintenance of pipelines, heating systems, and electrical wires.

While withholding rent is an actual right to exercise, it should be done only in very serious cases. If there are real repairs that need to be done within the property, the tenant needs to notify the landlord.  Ask when the repairs will be done. If it’s an emergency, you need to let the landlord know it is an emergency.

In the case that the landlord is slow to respond or simply does not make the repairs, send a letter requesting the repairs.  If the landlord takes no action at this point, then you might want to take your own steps to fix the issue or what you may call “Repair and Deduct.”

Repair and deduct simply means you make your own repairs with what you would normally pay for rent. So instead of paying the rent, you make your own repairs and deduct the repair amount from the usual rent.  If you do decide to take this as your next step, you need to ensure that your landlord understands what you are about to do.  The important thing is to give him a chance to make the repairs.

In the case that you decide to take this course of action, get some estimates before you do anything.  Repairs do not mean upgrading your apartment into a nightclub or a penthouse suite!

Unless the issues within your home are severe and detrimental to your health, such as toxic sewage leaking from a pipe, try not to immediately resort to withholding rent.  On a serious note, if there are electrical wires hanging out or something of the sort, you should notify your landlord immediately.

 

4) I asked my landlord for my security deposit and he said he spent it because he had legal right to use it to repair the building.  Only thing was it was not even in my apartment.  Can he do that?

Absolutely not!  A security deposit is still technically a tenant’s money.

Usually, a landlord will take a security deposit in the amount of the first month’s rent.  Apart from reimbursement for unpaid rent or damage to the property, the landlord does not have a right or privilege to spend the money from a tenant’s security deposit.  The money you provide the landlord is still technically your money.  

Currently, there is no real statutory limit as to how much a landlord takes as a security deposit.  However, he must provide a receipt of the deposit which details the name and address of the banking institution where he placed it as well as the amount of the deposit.  

A receipt ensures that you have knowledge that your money is safely stored away in a bank instead of the dusty shoebox under your landlord’s bed of which you can’t even be sure exists.

Understand that this deposit should be in a separate account.  The landlord should not and cannot mix your deposit with his own personal money.

After a lease is up and upon vacating the premises, a tenant is entitled to get the security deposit back with interest.  In New York, the window for returning a security deposit is typically 21-45 days of a tenant vacating a property.  A landlord is obligated to return the security deposit regardless of whether or not the tenant specifically requests it.

 

5) I’ve been paying $1000 a month for the past year.  My landlord is suddenly asking for an extra $500 a month.  Shouldn’t he have let me know he was raising the rent?

No such luck with this one.  A landlord actually does not need to provide notice of increased rent.

Current New York Landlord Tenant law does not provide a statute which demands that a landlord provides a notice of increased rent.  

However, this is only true when your lease agreement is up.  So if you have a one-year lease where you pay $1000 a month, he cannot raise the rent beyond $1000 until the end of the year. But once your lease is up, neither you nor the landlord have a contractual agreement either of you must abide by in terms of financial matters.  

You might think this is crazy because then your landlord could charge you, as Dr. Evil says, “One million dollars!” But rest assured that in the state of NY there is something called rent control.  

Rent control essentially means there is a limit to how much your landlord can increase your rent.  However, some apartments are not regulated. In the case that it is not regulated, then the landlord can actually raise the rent as much as he wants.  With that said, the fact that your landlord can raise your rent without notice to you remains unchanged.

In the case that your lease is not yet up but your landlord increases your rent, then something is definitely wrong and you need to make sure he’s not violating the lease.  You can find out more information about raising rent here.

 

6) This is kind of weird, but my landlord enters my apartment from time to time.  He doesn’t even knock and it really irks me!  But doesn’t he technically have a right to enter because it’s his property?  

Actually, no.  A landlord cannot enter a tenant’s property without proper notice.

If you have no problem with your landlord randomly entering your home, there’s no need to read this section.  But if you take issue with the fact that someone has access to your home at any time and comes in periodically or perhaps even too often without notice, just know that your landlord cannot do that.

Considering the landlord is the property owner, you might reluctantly think in the back of your head that he “technically” has a legal right to enter your home at any second.  Not at all.

As with many of the other things a landlord can do, he can only enter your property under—the key phrase—specific conditions.  If there are repairs that need to be done or he needs to show the property to potential renters, he needs to give you a reasonable notice.  If his entry is outlined in the lease, he still needs to provide you with a reasonable notice.

A landlord can only enter without notice in cases of emergency.  Entering your apartment outside of these circumstances means your landlord is probably bored and just there to bother you.

 

7) I told my landlord that I was going to have my friend move into the apartment.  After a month, he’s now telling me that I can’t have a roommate because it’s illegal and that he needs to leave immediately.  Is this true?

No.  A tenant can most definitely house a roommate.

In the case you do decide to have a roommate, you need to inform your landlord 30 days within your roommate moving in or upon the request of your landlord.  Generally, if you’re not shooting off rockets or blasting 90s rock music at 3 AM with your roommate it should be fine to have a roommate.  

In fact, a tenant is permitted to move in immediate family and one additional person and dependent children into a property.  Whether or not you make any of these people pay part of the rent is up to the tenant.  But because there are laws to prevent overcrowding, a landlord may limit the number of people a tenant takes in.  However, make sure not to get this confused with subletting.

Subletting your apartment is a different issue and will require your landlord’s permission.  Otherwise, you need to be living in your apartment to share it with a roommate or family.  Subletting is essentially renting out your apartment to subtenants.  For most cases, your landlord cannot unreasonably deny you subletting the apartment.  

You can see the legal NY code for subletting and additional information about it here. You can also read up even more on the roommate law in NY.

 

More Resources on New York Landlord Tenant Laws

It’s important for all New York residents to be familiar with New York State landlord laws. Even all of the above information does not exhaust the endless list of issues that may arise between a tenant and landlord.  

Tenants’ rights and responsibilities within the tenant-landlord relationship are complex.  There are a lot of resources to look to if you’re still not sure where you stand on an issue.  Below is a list of some New York state-specific resources to use as guides.  Happy hunting!

Tenants’ rights FAQs:

Frequently Asked Questions about New York Tenant Rights

New York Tenant Right Information from the State Attorney General

New York City Housing Preservation & Development Information on Tenants’ Rights & Responsibilities

 

New York Roommate & Subletting Laws

Metropolitan Council on Housing

Subletting in New York City

New York City Rent Guidelines Board

 

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Sig, you should consult with a lawyer to be sure, but I believe you are allowed to show your property during the last month of the lease. New York mandates at least 24 hours notice before entering the unit for a showing. If you have questions, please let us know.

  • Elizabeth Burstein

    My landlord lives in a really bright part of the city with many city lights and I have trouble sleeping with the shades she currently has (light shades). It isn’t “livable” to me so I am having new shades and curtains installed, requiring me to replace her current ones. She is making me pay an additional $1k to my already huge $8k deposit and says she will take from this if for some reason she doesn’t like the new shades and has to pay for work to put back her old ones. She won’t tell me how much she’ll charge. Can you please advise – is that legal?

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Elizabeth, as a tenant you are allowed to make reasonable adjustments to the unit. The additional 1k to the deposit seems unnecessary. Have you offered to put her shades back up when you move out? If it’s no extra cost to her, I don’t see why it should be an issue. An 8k deposit is rather high. Most states have laws that state how high the security deposit is allowed to be (for instance, it is sometimes double the rent price). I recommend talking to your landlord. If you have any questions, please let us know. Best, Kasia.

  • Tasha Berzal

    Is there any law pertaining to Snow removal?? There are 2 Duplexes and 4 families that live here and the landlord expects the four families to get together and arrange snow plowing on a 1/4 of a mile driveway that has a hill. His reasoning is he just can handle dealing with hiring someone to plow. (really he is just too cheap) Any help would be greatly appreciated!! I can’t find the lease at the moment but it may say he didn’t take care of the snow removal..But by law since it is 4 Units isn’t he responsible…HELP!!!

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Tasha, I recommend looking up the law regarding snow removal in your state/city. You can also consult a lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant laws in your location. It’s possible snow removal is the landlord’s responsibility. You should also find your lease. It may state what you agreed to in terms of snow removal. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. Best, Kasia.

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi, I recommend consulting a lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant law. They will know if the time span and frequency of the heat being off is legal or not. These rules may differ state to state. If you have questions, please let us know. Best, Kasia.

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi, you would file a complaint at your local court / clerk’s office. They will be able to tell you more about the process in your state. If you have further questions, please let us know. Best, Kasia.

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Amber,
    If the rental property is not safe or habitable, then you can break the rental lease. We mention this in the article below. I recommend talking to your landlord and if he/she doesn’t let you out of your lease, you may need to go to court and have the issue settled there.
    https://www.rentalutions.com/education/guides/complete-guide-to-rental-leases/breaking-a-rental-lease-and-grounds-for-eviction/
    Let us know if you have questions.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Mark,
    It doesn’t sound right that a bad repair would take so long to complete. The landlord has a responsibility to keep the property safe and habitable. I recommend you check your lease. Does it have a clause that states either party can terminate the lease with 30 days’ notice? If so, then the landlord is allowed to end the lease early. If you wish to stay, you could consult a landlord-tenant lawyer and see what they advise. Please let us know if you have any further questions. Best, Kasia.

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Will,
    Thanks for reaching out. Eviction laws are different state to state. I recommend checking with a landlord-tenant lawyer where the property is located.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Erika,
    You can contact a lawyer and find out how to move forward. If you think the bill is inaccurate and unfair, then I recommend not paying until you talk to a lawyer. Let us know if you have any questions.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Kelly,
    I’m so sorry about the situation. I recommend writing down every aspect of how you are handling it (calling him, asking for proper notice, etc). If he doesn’t return your security deposit you can take him to court. There’s no reason for him to keep your security deposit unless you’ve skipped rent payments or you’ve damaged the property. However, it sounds like that’s not the case and he’s actually not taking good care of the property, which is his responsibility.
    Let us know if you have further questions.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Shari,
    I recommend reading your lease and seeing if there’s anything about your landlord being able to end the lease with 30 days’ notice. You can also speak to a lawyer and let the lawyer know about the snow removal issue and the notice. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Shannon,
    Do you have a month-to-month lease? If so, then you can typically provide 30 days notice and leave the lease. A fixed lease may be harder to leave; however, if a problem like bed bugs is not being addressed then you can likely leave your lease. I recommend speaking to a landlord-tenant lawyer in your location to learn more. He or she will be able to examine your lease and give you the right advice. Bed bugs are a serious issue so most local and city laws have some kind of laws about how landlords handle bed bugs. It’s possible your landlord is not in compliance with those laws. Let us know if you have any questions.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Jennifer Canas

    I have a leaking problem from last year sept. 2016 and i always tell my landlord and we are already in april 2017 and after the last snow storm we had we had leak in my room and in the bathroom and he hasn’t fix it and that been a month ago. I told him i wasn’t paying rent until he fix that and all he said was I’m taking you to court. Can he do that?

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Jennifer,
      The landlord is legally required to keep the unit in good condition, especially with leaks that can damage your belongings. It sounds like a lot of time has gone by and the landlord is not fixing the issue. I recommend speaking to a lawyer about the issue and then following up with the landlord. In some cases, you can fix the problem yourself and deduct the cost of the repair from your rent price. I recommend checking your lease in regards to maintenance problems and see what it says. Please let me know if you have any questions.
      Best,
      Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Jill,
    If you’re on a month-to-month lease, then the landlord has the right to end the lease with 30 days’ notice. You can re-read your lease to check the language and the terms of your agreement with your landlord. If you have any questions, please let us know.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Erin Morang

    I moved out on may 1st but I paid for the month of may…the apartment is clean and free of damages…the landlord is stating that I abandoned the property and he can rent it out for the rest of may..he has not returned my security deposit back uet. Can he rent out the apartment even though I paid for the month of may?

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Erin,
      If your lease states that you have it the month of May then he shouldn’t rent it out even though you’ve moved early. Have you talked to him about your security deposit? Maybe he’s willing to return May rent in exchange for him renting out the unit sooner? I recommend speaking to your landlord about the matter further.
      Please let us know if you have any questions.
      Best,
      Kasia

  • Lisa Jaradat

    Hi, I rent the 3flr of an apartment in a private home. There 2 other tenants that in rent in the home. Ground floor and second. I have lived here for 3.5 years the landlord refuses to paint or send an exterminator. Now he’s asking me to leave since I said I’m filing a complaint and taking him to court. I don’t have a lease and pay month to month $1800. Every year he increases the rent by 100$ and says he’s doing me a favor given the market. What are my rights ? Can he evict me ? Is he legally responsible for painting and sending an exterminator? Please advise ASAP

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Lisa,
      If you need an exterminator for a pest problem, then it is likely the landlord’s responsibility. Landlords are responsible for making sure the unit stays habitable. Since you’re on a month-to-month lease, the landlord is able to raise the rent price with 30-day notice and he or she is able to end the lease with 30-day notice, as well.
      Please let us know if you have any further questions.
      Best,
      Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Debbie,
    It sounds like there was some confusion between you and your landlord. Your landlord was likely upholding the lease until 5/31 but was giving you the notice in advance. However, I agree that he probably should have clarified about the 30 days notice. I recommend telling your landlord why you were confused and left the lease early, and that you did not intend to break the lease. Perhaps the two of you can come to sort of compromise on the lost May rent.
    Please let us know if you have any further questions.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Wendy,
    Your landlord is legally allowed to access the unit as long as he provides proper notice, which is typically 24 hours. For that reason, you likely cannot deny him access to show the unit. If you have any further questions, please let us know.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Michelle,
    If you signed a lease at a certain rent price, then the landlord cannot change the rent price randomly. Since there is a new individual on the lease, it’s possible your landlord will want to sign a new lease agreement at a new rent price. I recommend speaking to him about this.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Michelle,
    If you signed a lease at a certain rent price, then the landlord cannot change the rent price randomly. Since there is a new individual on the lease, it’s possible your landlord will want to sign a new lease agreement at a new rent price. I recommend speaking to your landlord about this.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi,

    I recommend speaking to your landlord about letting you out of your lease if the infestation is going to be persistant. Tenants have the right to live in a habitable space. You can also speak to a landlord-tenant lawyer about your rights in this situation.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Tenant was given a weeks notice that there will be an open house, now they’re refusing entry into the property. Can the landlord enter the property for showings anyway?

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi,
      Landlords are legally obligated to access their property if they’ve provided the legal notice of entry. I recommend telling your tenant which law you are following (you can find this state/local law online). They cannot deny you reasonable access.
      Best,
      Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Andrea,
    It’s odd that your landlord would require you to provide notice when he or she already gave you notice. Only one party needs to provide 30 day notice. You should be out of the unit 30 days from when the landlord first gave you notice, and you should only have to pay rent through that date. It would likely be a prorated amount. To calculate the prorated rent amount, you’d take the rent price and divide it by the number of days in June. Then take the number of days you will actually be in the unit and multiply it by that number. If you have any questions about this, please let us know.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Wendy,
    Landlords are typically still allowed access by law even if it’s not written in the lease. You can check your local laws online to find out more about this. Landlords need access as you’re in the process of moving to show the unit to new potential tenants.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • AnnMarie Rasnick

    Hi. I have a one year lease that doesn’t end until 3-31-18. My landlord has decided she’s selling the house. I have no problem with this and I accommodate all showings. The issue is her agent messages me at 10pm to tell me there will be a showing tomorrow at 3:45pm. I am also going away for two days and I’m not comfortable with the house being home without being present. Can I refuse entry for the 2 days I’m away?

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Ann Marie,

      Your landlord should be able to accommodate your request. I recommend asking and explaining that you feel more comfortable if you’re there. They are technically able to access the house since they are the owner, and they’re providing proper notice. Keep in mind that landlords are legally required to provide 24 hours of notice, sometimes 48 hours, depending on your location. I recommend searching online and making sure your landlord is providing the right amount of notice. If they’re not, you can ask that they give you more notice next time.

      Best,
      Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Shayna,

    Your landlord can legally access the property as long as he or she provides proper notice of entry. You cannot deny your landlord access if he or she provides notice. And yes, your landlord can sell the property. Typically when landlords sell the property, they provide notice of the lease ending (if you’re on a month-to-month lease), or the lease will transfer to the new owner.

    If you’re violating your lease by having additional people living there, or by not paying rent, then your landlord can pursue an eviction.

    Please let us know if you have any further questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi SyeYoung,

    Landlords can only deduct from your security deposit for unpaid rent or damages beyond wear and tear. If the damage to the flooring was already there or not caused by you, then I recommend talking to your landlord about this, or taking it to court if necessary.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Mike,

    It’s important for every person who lives there to be on the lease. You technically do not have to pay rent or have the right to live there if you’re not on a signed lease. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Nusaibah,

    You likely have the right to break the lease because landlords are legally responsible for providing habitable living conditions. The smell, pest infestation, etc are all indications that the property is not being well taken care of. I recommend speaking to a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area about your options. Your landlord should probably evict the tenant for not upholding the lease (which should state that the tenant maintains the condition of the property).

    Please let us know if you have any other questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Patricia,

    I recommend sending your tenant a letter. You can also charge a late fee if that is written in your lease. Another option could be to update your rent due date so rent is due earlier. It’s possible your tenant is paying late because she is waiting for a paycheck. You can talk to her in person about the payments to see if you can both come to an understanding of why she is paying late and how to improve it moving forward.

    If it comes down to having to evict your tenant, you can learn more in this blog post:

    https://www.rentalutions.com/education/guides/complete-guide-to-rental-leases/breaking-a-rental-lease-and-grounds-for-eviction/

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Tracy,

    Technically yes, you could do that. Have you spoken to your landlord about the deposit being returned to you? It might be easiest to pay rent and then get your deposit back. However, I understand your concern that you want that money back (and you can do that by not paying last month’s rent). I recommend talking to your landlord about it first.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Dawn Godkin Convertino

    My landlord just told me she’s selling the house she also just told me there is a scheduled open house for Sunday for two hours while I’m living here can she do this?

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Dawn,

      Did you sign a rental lease with your landlord? If you’re on a lease with your landlord until a certain lease date, then typically your landlord can’t kick you out. If they’re selling the property to a new owner, then usually the lease transfers to the new owner as part of the agreement.

      However, if you’re on a month-to-month lease, then the landlord typically only has to provide you 30 days’ notice of it ending. Similarly, if you did not sign a lease, then your landlord can also do this.

      Please let us know if you have other questions.

      Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Christi,

    If you’re living somewhere illegally, or not on a lease, then your landlord can kick you out. I recommend setting a date with him that you’ll move out by, to avoid going to court or any other headaches. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Nicole,

    Your landlord gave you notice and you’re technically not on a lease. It’s in your best interest to move out, so you avoid going to court or other headaches. As far as your rights, your landlord can’t take your things. That would be theft. He also shouldn’t harrass or intimidate you. That being said, you do need to leave the property since you are not on a lease and he gave you notice to move out. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Julio,

    I recommend speaking to a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area. They’ll be able to give you legal advice that is specific to where you live.

    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Iliana,

    Your landlord can evict you only if you violate the lease agreement. The lease should say how rent is expected to be delivered. If the lease says the landlord will pick it up, then you should not be in any trouble. I understand in the past your landlord has picked it up. I recommend getting the payment to your landlord, so it might be in your best interest to mail it.

    I recommend looking up your state/local laws about the Repair and Deduct Rule. This rule is true in most locations and it allows you to deduct repairs from rent if the landlord failed to take care of it.

    If you find this rule, you can send it to your landlord and let him know that you were within your rights to complete that repair and deduct it from rent.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Dee,

    Yes, your landlord is responsible for taking care of maintenance, even on a month-to-month lease.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Pat,
    Without a lease agreement, it’s harder to enforce rules, such as not allowing the tenants to sublet. In most states, there’s a “repair and deduct” law that allows tenants to fix problems on their own and they deduct the repair cost from rent that month. Since your friend doesn’t have a lease with these tenants then he or she can tell the tenants to move out. They don’t have a signed contract saying it’s their space. Please let us know if you have any questions.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Edna,
    I’m sorry about the situation. If your landlord is not fixing necessary repairs in a timely fashion then he or she is neglecting the property. Landlords are responsible for maintaining a safe home for you. If the problems don’t get fixed in a timely fashion, you could potentially leave your lease with a valid reason. You’d need to speak to a landlord-tenant lawyer about this. It sounds like you’d like to stay if possible, so I recommend talking this out with the owner/landlord and see if there’s a remedy that will work.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Vanessa,
    Typically landlords are responsible for maintenance requests. Out of courtesy, the landlord should probably only do big renovations when there are no tenants in the house or have you stay in a hotel at his expense. In terms of legal rights, I recommend speaking to a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area about that. Shutting off water supply should come with notice, as well.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Lynda,
    I recommend returning the key to him, and let him know that you don’t have a lease so you are now moving out. Verbal agreements are not easy to uphold in court if he’s trying to get rent money from you in court.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi John,

    Does your utility bill take 2 months before it’s finalized? If that’s the case, then, unfortunately, you might have to wait the 2 months. I recommend speaking with your landlord though. Most tenants need their security deposit back in order to be able to pay for a new security deposit where they’re moving, so it’s very understandable that you expect to get this back right away. Especially if you’ve paid the utility bill already.
    Please let us know if you have any questions.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Scott,
    I recommend speaking to landlord-tenant lawyer. Without a lease you there’s not much you can do about staying in the property. You don’t have a legal agreement with your landlord, only a verbal agreement.
    Please let us know if you have any other questions.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Lynda,
    Sounds like you are doing the right things. Best of luck!
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Terrence,
    If he’s not on the lease, then he technically does not have a right to live there. She can talk to the landlord about the issue.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    You’re welcome!

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Khal,

    She should talk to a landlord-tenant laywer in her area and go to court. She can likely leave her lease early because it sounds like the unit is not habitable. It’s typically illegal for landlords to cut off the power to the unit.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Arlene,
    Do you have a lease with your landlord? Landlords can typically only give 30 days’ notice if you’re on a month-to-month lease, or if you do not have a lease. I recommend searching for a new place so you’re out sooner rather than later.
    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Alex,

    She technically shouldn’t be living in the rental property if she’s not on the lease. You could get the landlord involved to further encourage her to leave. You can perhaps help her look for somewhere to move to and reiterate the move-out date.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Virginia,

    Tenants are allowed to vacation while renting the property, so it seems odd that the landlord is trying to evict her, especially because she is always paying rent. You can talk to a landlord-tenant lawyer about next steps. They will know how to best move forward.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Dan

    Hi, my apartment lease ends at the end of July, and I started moving out to the new apartment earlier (last month) , but left my futon in the old apartment because I couldn’t move alone. So I visited my old apartment to take my futon and clean completely, but everything was already cleaned up, repaired, and my futon was gone. It seems like the apartment landlord assumed that I am completely moved out and just walked into my apartment and did all those stuff WITHOUT ANY NOTICE. That apartment was 2 bedroom so probably when my roommate moved out, the landlord assumed that I was moved out as well. Can they walk into my apartment and clean, repair everything, and may possibly charge any cleaning/repairing fee in the future without any notice?

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Dan,

      If your lease is technically up at the end of July then they shouldn’t have been in the apartment to clean until the lease is over. Have you asked them what they did with the futon? It’s possible they’ll reimburse you, they shouldn’t have removed your belongings before the lease was up.

      Best,
      Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi,
    If it says in your lease that utilities are included then your landlord cannot charge you extra for utilities or regulate your utility usage.

    Please let us know if you have any questions about this.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Darlena,

    Yes, when the lease is up (after those initial 6 months) your landlord can offer a renewal. Month-to-month lease renewals are very normal, And raising the rent price is also normal. You can discuss the terms of the renewal with your landlord. You can also reject the offer to renew if you’d prefer to move out.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Khal,

    I recommend reaching out to Edward Altabet. You can see more information here:

    https://www.rentalutions.com/pros/edward-d-altabet

    Please let us know if you need anything else!

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Sheila Daubney

    hi…I rented an apartment in Jan 2016 and signed a 1 year lease. I was the only person on the lease. My lease expired and the LL sold the house. I remained in the apartment living with my boyfriend. As of late he has stopped paying any bills including cost for shelter (my apartment). He owes me well over 1,000. I have asked him to leave but he refuses. Told me to leave if I don’t like it. I am wondering if I can have him evicted or is it something my landlord has to do. He has never had an agreement with either LL. All the bills are in my name including making all the payments for rent. People have advised me to just leave but I have a lot invested in this place including 1,000 security deposit. It’s expensive t move and I’ve been the responsible one paying all the bills. Any suggestions? TY

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Sheila,

      If he’s not on the lease then he can’t live there. I recommend telling the landlord that he’s refusing to leave. The landlord can intervene and tell him he can’t live there since he’s not on a lease. Let us know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Kasia

  • Jake Hari

    So I just gave security deposit to my new landlord in the beginning of July and had to wait for Belmont to inspect the place which didn’t pass inspection until at the end of the month and the landlord is not handing over the keys unless we pay this month’s rent for the month of July, which we did not live in the apartment. Can he do this?

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Jake,

      Before handing over a security deposit, did you sign a lease? You should only exchange money if you’ve signed a written agreement. In the agreement, it would say the start date when you’re expected to start paying. If you didn’t sign an agreement, then it’s up to whatever verbal agreement you and the landlord came to. It sounds like there’s some confusion on whether that was July or August. I recommend talking to your landlord. You can say the inspection wasn’t complete until late July and you expected the start date would be after the inspection was complete. You can also say you find it most fair to only start paying rent once you’ve moved in, which you couldn’t do until the inspection was complete.

      Please let us know if you have any questions.

      Best,
      Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi,

    Are you referring to how much a rental manager can charge? This will depend on the services, how much they manage, and what other rental property management companies in the area charge (for their compensation to be competitive).

    Please let me know if you have further questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi,

    That depends on other rent prices in the market. You can check similar listings in the area to find out if this price increase is fair.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Barbara,

    Your daughter should discuss signing a new lease with the landlord. Once the sublease is up, the landlord will need new tenants, so the landlord can just sign a new lease with your daughter. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi,

    Landlords are allowed to raise the rent price if you’re on a month-to-month lease. They can also terminate a month-to-month agreement. Both of these situations require a 30-day notice. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Carol,

    That’s a great question. Typically all maintenance is on the landlord. Are the renters requiring that you replace the carpet? Typically you would just replace it once they’ve moved out. Or when needed. But carpet should last a good 10 years. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Chris

    So I have a newborn and a 18 month of baby can my landlord make me pay an extra 50$ every month for my 2 kids?

    • Kasia Manolas

      Hi Chris,

      I’m pretty sure your landlord can’t charge you for children. Do you have a rental lease? If it’s in the lease, and the law doesn’t prohibit it, then it’s possible. I recommend confirming with a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area.

      Best,
      Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Karen,

    Usually cleaning things is the tenant’s responsibility while you live there. However, the soot in the apartment is not your fault. I would assume management would offer to clean it so that the fire does not inconvenience you in any way. I would ask management again, clean it yourself, or ask the fire department what they recommend / how they recommend cleaning it.

    Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Samantha,

    With a month-to-month lease, you typically have 30 days’ required notice to leave. However, if the contract of the sale is a couple of months away, then the landlord could let you know the date of the sale so you can know ahead of time if you want to be out by then. It sounds like you can also choose to stay in your lease with the new owner.

    As far as your rights, I recommend contacting a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area. Please let us know if you have questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Jonelle,

    If people are entering your apartment without notice, then that is usually illegal (given there’s no emergency situation or court order). I recommend contacting a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area. He or she will be able to give you specific advice for this situation.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Sara,

    If it’s not on the lease and he didn’t provide notice, then that isn’t fair. Rules like that should be communicated clearly in writing on the lease. I recommend talking to him again and also trying to get the electricity on as soon as you can to expedite the process.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Margaret,

    Has your mother-in-law spoken to the landlord about next steps for handling the bees? This is something the landlord needs to handle. If the landlord is ignoring the problem, she may want to call a pest expert and get their opinion on the situation. She can forward that to the landlord.

    Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Amber,

    You should have a rental lease if you’re living in the property so that the landlord can’t kick your family out. If you legally want the right to live there, you need to sign an agreement. If you wanted to leave, you technically can because you’re not in an agreement with the landlord. It might be better to move to a new property that is well-maintained. You could aim to stay in your school district.

    I recommend reading our guide to finding an apartment for specific advice on how to find rentals:

    https://www.rentalutions.com/education/guides/a-tenants-guide-to-finding-an-apartment

    You can also speak to a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area to find out what next steps you can take to get your landlord to make these repairs. It is your landlord’s responsibility to make the property ‘habitable’ or liveable.

    Please let us know if you have any further questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Sharyn,

    It’s common for tenants to use their security deposit as last month’s rent. It’s not necessarily recommended, but it’s commonly done. If you don’t have a written lease agreement with your landlord then you technically are not required to be there for a certain amount of time. You can likely move out without your landlord being able to sue you for remaining rent. I recommend following up with a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area to get legal advice.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi,

    I recommend telling your landlord that you’ve noticed some differences in the two leases. You should ask him to make sure the lease is accurate (correct address). And ask him to clarify if there is a sprinkler system / known lead paint. It’s possible the last lease had errors.

    If you’re not comfortable living in the building now that you know there is lead paint / no sprinkler system then you may not want to move forward with signing the renewal. Finding out more information from your landlord should help you make that decision.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Max,

    An additional security deposit is not normal. I recommend asking your landlord for more information on what that security deposit is for. You can say you’re not comfortable with two security deposits. There are often legal limits to how expensive a security deposit can be, you may want to research your state laws to find out more.

    Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Krystal,

    Yes, you can contact the health department. You can have the problem repaired yourself and deduct the cost from rent if the “repair and deduct” rule is legal in your location. You may want to search online to see if it’s legal in your city. I’m not positive about withholding rent, you may want to check with a landlord-tenant lawyer to find out more.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    You’re welcome!

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Laurie,

    I assume the internet will be up and running on your move-in date. Have you asked management why it’s not currently running and what day they plan to get it working? Communicating about the issue should help resolve it faster and clear up any confusion.

    If you’ve signed your lease and paid your deposit, you may not be able to back out now. However, you are allowed to leave the agreement if the landlord is not upholding their end of the deal (i.e. they aren’t providing internet).

    Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Kris,

    If you never signed a rental lease then you technically don’t have rights to the property for a set amount of time. I recommend asking for a move out date (perhaps 30 or 60 days) to give you time to find a new place. They should be reasonable with allowing you time to move out, especially because you have two young children and you’ve been paying rent on time each month. If you need help finding another rental, I recommend checking out this guide:

    https://www.rentalutions.com/education/guides/a-tenants-guide-to-finding-an-apartment

    Best,
    Kasia

  • Kasia Manolas

    Hi Sharyn,

    I’m sorry about the insect bites and the hassle. Calling the health department and leaving the situation sound like great ideas. Please let us know if you have questions as you vacate the rental.

    Best,
    Kasia