NYC Tenant Rights: The Most Important Ones to Know
Renting a home in NYC can be an amazing experience, especially if you’re not from the city. Food-blog-worthy restaurants within a 5 minute walk, easy access to any part of the city for less than $5, and a constant flow of new faces to look at; NYC is unlike anywhere else in the world.
However, these pros of living in NYC can sometimes be overshadowed by the complications of renting in NYC. Rental apartments in NYC are unique in that they are always being sought after. For this reason, most landlords are often able to rent out their apartments year after year, regardless of the apartment condition. In addition, since most apartments are leased for a single year, renters that require assistance or repairs from their landlord are often ignored until the issue is dropped or their lease is terminated.
In the event that you find yourself in this predicament, it is essential that you are aware of some of the most important NYC tenant rights that exist to help you hold your landlord or management office accountable for their end of the deal (that is your lease).
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes it illegal for landlords and sellers to discriminate against potential renters and buyers on the basis of their race, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, religious and political background, etc. Having knowledge of this legal provision can make it easier for those who face discrimination to get justice. If this right is violated, complaints are accepted by the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
Tenants in NYC are entitled to a well-maintained home, conducive for their health and safety. This provision, which is encapsulated in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s ABCs of Housing, ensures that tenants are able to live in safe and well-maintained apartments where neither their health nor safety is threatened.
It is important for tenants to know that it is the responsibility of their renters or property owners to provide heating in the apartment they are renting. Specifically, landlords are required to keep tenant’s apartments at a minimum of 68 degrees during the day and 62 degrees during the night. This provision also stipulates that landlords provide both hot and cold water for their tenants, and there is a stipulated temperature provision for the hot water as well. The temperature of hot water must be at last 120 degrees. This is to ensure that during extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures, tenants are and can be comfortable in their apartments.
It is the responsibility of landlords to provide pest control for their tenants, whenever a situation calls for it. This provision ensures that tenants live in safety of pest invasions in order to prevent the spread of diseases. Please note, this also refers to bed bugs. Landlords are required to get rid of bed bugs within 30 days of being notified. In addition, landlords must inform prospective new tenants of previous bed bug reports in the building which is almost always disclosed in new leases.
By law, landlords must provide repairs for their apartments where and when necessary, as to keep the unit “habitable”. Whether it be electrical repairs, plumbing, or repairs to the physical structure of the building itself, it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure these things are fixed properly to ensure that the tenants live in comfort, no matter what. In the event that a tenant requests a repair and their landlord fails to deliver in a timely manner, complaints are accepted by 311.
This provision is quite important to the health and safety of NYC renters. As stated in the ABC’s of Housing, landlords are required to install at least one carbon monoxide and smoke detector in each of their units. However, please note that it is the tenant’s responsibility to replace the batteries and ensure that their carbon monoxide and smoke detector is functioning properly.