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New York Landlord/Tenant Law Blog

Do you know about 'succession rights' here in New York City?

Location, location, location. That's the Realtors' motto and people who rent in New York City understand this real estate concept better than most. Many of the city's apartments are rent-controlled or rent-stabilized. If you have a family member who lives in one of these apartments who dies, you may have "succession rights."

This means that you may be designated as the tenant of record if the apartment is rent-controlled, or if the apartment is rent-stabilized, as the leaseholder who can take advantage of renewal leases. Don't get too excited just yet, however. First, certain conditions must exist.

You have rights if your landlord does not maintain services

If you live in a rent-controlled dwelling in New York, you probably appreciate knowing that your rent will remain affordable throughout your tenancy. You may be wary of engaging in any kind of landlord-tenant dispute with the property owner because you want to keep your residence. We understand how you might not want to "rock the boat," but we also want to make sure you and others like you are aware of your rights.

First of all, as a tenant in New York, you have the right to live in a safe and properly serviced residence. This means that your landlord is required to maintain service on your residence. A few examples include repairing damaged plumbing, keeping the heating system functional and ensuring tenants have access to hot and cold water.

Are you an immigrant victimized by housing discrimination?

Landlord-tenant disputes in New York come in many forms. One of the most tragic of these forms is housing discrimination based on one's immigration status. What many immigrants do not know is that it is illegal for landlords to discriminate against them in any manner. This blog post will address important housing discrimination elements for those who think they do not have protection in the United States.

Examples of discrimination: If your landlord is engaging in any of these behaviors, you should consider seeking legal guidance.

  • Refusing you a rental
  • Lying about rental availability
  • Harassing, threatening, coercing or intimidating you
  • Interfering with your rights

Breaking your lease after suffering a disability

It is not often that one can predict when a disability will occur. In fact, a debilitating disease or accident often comes along suddenly, leaving you confused and frustrated as you try to wrap your head around your new reality. One of the factors you may be facing is how to break the lease on your apartment if your illness or injury has made it impossible for you to continue living there.

Are you now wheelchair-bound and unable to take the stairs to your walk-up or reach the cabinets in your kitchen? Does your illness or the illness of a family member mean you will have to move where help is available? Do you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder that makes it impossible to remain in your New York City apartment where traffic and construction noises trigger your condition? Is there a way to break the lease without breaking your bank?

Landlord-tenant disputes | Getting your deposit back

When your rental lease is ending and you decide to move to a new residence, having your current security deposit returned to you is vital. Most people in New York need this money to cover the expenses related to a new rental unit.

For example, if you use most of your available funds to cover the first month's rent and the deposit on a new home, your current security deposit can help you offset the impact of these expenses.

Thousands of New York renters are going without heat, hot water

When brutally cold temperatures hit New York City, as they have this winter, renters are at the mercy of their landlords for their comfort and safety. The city has received some 22,000 complaints from New Yorkers about lack of heat or hot water.

A nurse who lives in East Harlem says, "The heat and hot water there has been on and off since Thanksgiving." She added, "It's ridiculous." Tenants have been using space heaters and electric blankets to stay warm in the frigid temperatures. These can be fire hazards.

Landlord-tenant disputes and subletting a New York apartment

Many tenants in a New York apartment want to sublet the residence. For example, when residents must leave town for an extended period they may choose to sublet the residence in order to hold on to it. Many leases contain a clause stating that the tenant may not sublet the apartment. However, the law says that you have the right to sublet in certain situations even if the lease says that you may not.

Knowing if you can or cannot sublet your residence can help you avoid costly landlord-tenant disputes or eviction. For the record, tenants who live in public or subsidized housing may not let out their residences. A few examples of other exceptions to subletting rights include the following.

How you might end up on a New York tenant blacklist

If your name finds its way onto one of the many tenant blacklists for New York, you may have a great amount of trouble renting a home. Even worse, you probably do not even know you have been blacklisted. All you know is that no one wants to rent you a home and you have no idea why. If you have never experienced a truly contentious landlord-tenant dispute, your inability to find a new home is even more perplexing.

How do tenants end up on a blacklist? You might think one of your landlords added your name, but that is not the reason. If your name has ever passed through New York's housing court system, it will probably mean you are blacklisted. It does not matter why you were involved in housing court. It does not even matter if you went through the system because of a landlord's negligence and won your case.

Can my landlord evict me and my emotional support animal?

After struggling for years with mental illness or emotional issues, you probably thought you were destined to live the rest of your life alone and suffering. As difficult as it may be to explain your circumstances, you know that others struggle to understand what you are going through. You may have a psychiatrist or counselor to talk to, but sometimes what you really need is someone to support and comfort you when your condition becomes overwhelming.

This is where your emotional support animal comes in. If you have found a dog to provide that consistent consolation that keeps your depression, anxiety or other emotional issues from making your life unbearable, you certainly want to have that support with you as much as possible. However, if your New York apartment or condo has a no-pet policy, you may wonder if there is a way around it.

New York slumlord must pay $8 million to former tenants

The presence of slumlords in a large metropolis like New York is an unpleasant fact. For people living in rent-stabilized apartments, landlord-tenant disputes are commonplace when a landlord is disreputable. Often, these landlords will engage in unethical or outright illegal activities in an attempt to push out the current residents. By getting the renters to leave, landlords will be free to move in new residents and collect a greater amount of rent.

One of New York's most notorious landlords has been tasked with paying $8 million in restitution to his former tenants. According to reports, this alleged slumlord is accused of using the following illegal tactics to oust residents from their rent-stabilized homes.

  • Refusal to address livability conditions
  • Using henchmen to "intimidate, stalk, and threaten" tenants
  • Turning residences into hazardous construction zones
  • Engaging in illegal construction
  • Filing frivolous lawsuits against residents