Living as a renter in NYC can often leave you feeling powerless in relation to your landlord. It is not uncommon for landlords & property owners to be aware of this sense of tenant powerlessness and to exploit it in various ways to their benefit. This is one component of a much larger growth machine that fuels displacement and gentrification in our city.
You are not powerless! As a tenant in NYC, you have more rights and protections than you may realize. What follows is an outline of your rights as a tenant, adapted from the Metropolitan Council on Housing’s more comprehensive guide.
**This list of tenant rights is in summary form. For an authoritative and complete understanding of tenant laws, consult the statute and judicial decisions that have interpreted the law. NYS statutes and the NYC Administrative Code are available online at the New York State Legislature website.
Your Basic Rights as a Tenant
- Warranty of Habitability
- Right to Repairs and Clean Premises
- Right to Hot Water
- Right to Heat or Heating Equipment/Facilities
- Right to Stay Nonpayment Proceedings Upon Failure to Make Repairs
- Right of Department of Social Services to Withhold Rent and Tenant’s Defense in Nonpayment Proceeding
- Right to Rent Abatement Where Serious Violations Exist
- Right to Smoke Detector
Your Right to Voice Complaints and to Organize
- Right to Be Protected Against Retaliatory Eviction
- Right to Form, Join, or Participate in Tenant’s Group
Your Right to Possession
- Right to Gain Possession at Beginning of Tenancy
- Right to Quiet Enjoyment
- Right of Illegally Locked-out Tenant to Bring Proceeding to Regain Possession
- Possible Right to Triple Damages for Landlord’s Lockout
- Right of Monthly Tenant to Timely and Adequate Notice Terminating Tenancy