The Real Rights Of Tenants

In the state of New York, there are laws to protect tenants just as there are laws to protect landlords. The problem is that many tenants think they know the law without actually doing any research. Before you get yourself in trouble with your landlord by assuming something, you should spend the time to do research and find out the facts.

When Rent Is Due

Too many tenants assume that there is a law in place that provides for a grace period in paying rent. For example, many people feel that if rent is due on the first of each month, then there is a legal grace period that says that rent is not late until the fifth of the month, or some other arbitrary date.

Your rent is due when your lease says it is due. Some landlords put in a grace period that puts off late payment penalties for a few days after the due date, but that does not mean that you can always put your payment off until that date. Tenants must pay their rent according to their lease, and there is no legal grace period that applies.

Security Deposits

When it comes to privately owned rental properties, the laws in New York State are vague on security deposits. If the property in question is a state-regulated property, then there are caps in place that prevent security deposits from being too high. But the state does not have security deposit caps on privately-owned rental properties. However, tenants may want to check with their local city or town government to see if there is a local cap in place.

A big misconception that tenants have about security deposits is that all landlords must return security deposits within 30 days of the tenants handing over the keys to the rental property. The law in New York State only states that landlords must return deposits in a "reasonable amount of time" after the tenant has vacated the property and given back the keys. There is also no guidelines for what a landlord can charge for against a security deposit once a tenant moves out.


When roommates sign a lease together, it is with the legal understanding that they both share in the responsibilities that come with the lease. A landlord does not have to be concerned with the arrangements that roommates make between each other. It is the responsibility of co-tenants to pay the rent on time and make sure that the apartment is in good shape when they move out.

Co-tenants can also suffer for the actions of their roommates. For example, if one roommate is out of town for the weekend and the other roommate throws a wild party that significantly damages the apartment, then both tenants are on the line for the repairs. In this instance, both tenants could also be evicted if the landlord decides to go that route.

Tenants do have rights in the state of New York, but those rights may not be as inclusive as tenants may expect. Before you decide to sign a lease with a roommate or rent a property with a high security deposit, it is important to know your rights and understand your responsibilities to your landlord under the law.

Call Sgarlato & Sgarlato PLLC. today to schedule your free consultation.

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