You’ve lived in your New York City apartment for the one year or two year term outlined by your lease. Now your lease is up for renewal. Should you do it?

Here’s everything you need to know. 

Notification Period

You’ll have a little bit of time to make decisions about your lease. The landlord is required to offer a renewal 90 days before the lease expires. The offer can be made in-person, via letter, or via email. If the offer is made in person you should always ask for a copy of the offer in writing. 

The new offer should tell you what your rent will be. While some landlords will keep your rent exactly the same with a lease renewal, some will take the opportunity to raise the rent. Only you can decide if the rent increase is worth it. Most of the time, the increase will be 5% or less. If you are in a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartment, there are legal limits on how much your landlord can increase the rent, and why. These limits are set by the New York City Rent Guideline Board. 

You should also know that you have the legal right to make a counteroffer. The landlord is under no obligation to accept the counteroffer, but may be willing to do so if you’ve been an especially good tenant. 

If you don’t sign the lease, you become a month-to-month tenant.

If you are a month-to-month tenant you’re in a pretty precarious position. Your landlord can raise your rent at any time. Either party can end the lease with just thirty days notice. 

Since finding an apartment in New York City is both expensive and time-consuming, this may not be ideal for your own housing security.

You may have some bargaining power.

The longer you stay in the apartment the more bargaining power you usually have. If you’ve been a good tenant who pays rent on time you may be able to negotiate for repairs, updates, or even the ability to keep pets in your apartment if the landlord normally doesn’t allow them.

It never hurts to ask. A lease is just a contract, and all contracts are negotiable. Just make sure you get any accommodations on a signed lease rider to ensure they’ll hold up if you and the landlord ever wind up facing off against each other in court.

If you are going to sign a lease renewal, you may gain even more bargaining power by signing a longer one. That’s guaranteed income for the landlord, and is an even better deal if the landlord knows for a fact that you’ll be paying your rent. 

Is your landlord a good landlord?

Price and convenience aren’t the only things you should consider when you’re considering a lease renewal. You should also consider whether you are at odds with your landlord, and how quick your landlord is to respond to maintenance requests.

If you have a good relationship with your landlord, it’s always better to keep it. Here at our law office we help thousands of renters who don’t, and those legal actions can get sticky and stressful.

Of course, landlords can change, often without warning. It’s always good to know where you can contact a good landlord-tenant dispute lawyer, even if you do sign that lease renewal.

Like us. We’re here to help. Having a problem? Contact our office today.

See also:

6 Provisions That Aren’t Allowed in NYC Leases

Your Right to Safety as a New York Tenant

Can Your Landlord Kick You Out of Your Home?


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