NY landlords should be aware of their expectations

Landlords have numerous responsibilities to their tenants. State law prevents discrimination and requires landlords to provide a habitable place to live.

Renting a house or apartment to a tenant involves much more than signing the agreement and collecting rent money. Landlords in New York have many responsibilities and duties to their tenants. On the other hand, landlords also have rights and protections pertaining to the property they own.

It is important to understand what is expected of a landlord to reduce the chances of a property owner dispute with tenants. The following information may protect landlords from legal action, as well as create a positive relationship with those who rent from them.

Tenants' rights regarding discrimination

According to the New York State Division of Human Rights, tenants are protected from discrimination by law in much the same way that discrimination is prohibited in the workplace. Landlords are not allowed to deny people the chance to rent based on their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or age. For example, a property manager would not be allowed to restrict an apartment complex to adults or women only. However, there are some exceptions. Some housing communities are allowed to be for senior citizens only, and some university dormitories may be gender-exclusive.

Landlords' responsibilities to provide a safe and habitable residence

Landlords are also responsible for keeping their rental housing safe, sanitary and habitable for their tenants, according to the State of New York Attorney General. The following factors apply to property owners:

  • Keeping the plumbing and electricity in good repair
  • Repairing or replacing appliances that came with the property if they break or wear out
  • Ensuring hot water and heat are available
  • Keeping the residence clear of vermin or insect infestations
  • Maintaining and cleaning the common-area premises

If a landlord fails to meet these obligations, it may create a dangerous, unsanitary or inhumane living condition and violate the rental agreement.

Tenants' obligations to landlords

Landlords also have the right to have their property respected by those who rent from them. If tenants do not pay rent, create regular disturbances and damage the rental unit, property owners do not lack legal recourse. When the rental agreement is willfully and maliciously violated, landlords may be able to take the steps to evict a tenant and pursue compensation for damages.

Landlord/tenant law is complex, and there are certain steps that must be taken in the right order for either property owners or renters to protect themselves legally. It may be a wise choice to speak with a Mount Kisco attorney who has experience in rental property law.