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Friday, June 21, 2019

Long Island Landlord Eviction and Lease Alert

On June 14, 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation significantly changing the rental industry in New York. The Statewide Housing Security and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 brings the following notable changes which apply to residential rental properties throughout New York State.

Landlords, be advised of the following:

As to Leases and Tenant Management:

1. Tenants’ Past or Pending Landlord-Tenant Action: Landlords are not allowed to deny to rent to a tenant based on past or pending landlord-tenant actions. Delayed effectiveness to July 14, 2019.

2. Charge Cap on Tenant Screening and Applications: Landlords are not allowed to charge any fees for processing, accepting, and/or reviewing tenant applications. Fees for background & credit checks is limited to the actual cost or $20, whichever is less. Background / credit check fee may be waived if tenant provides a copy of a background / credit check done within 30 days.

3. Notice for Refusal to Renew or Increase Rent over 5%: 30/60/90 days' written notice required for refusal to renew or to increase rent over 5%. Delayed effectiveness to October 12, 2019.
  • 30 days’ notice if tenant has occupied unit for less than 1 year or has a lease for a period less than 1 year
  • 60 days if tenant has occupied or has a lease for more than 1 year but less than 2 years
  • 90 days if tenant has occupied or has a lease for more than 2 years.

4. 5% or $50 Late Fee Limits: Landlords can only charge late fees 5 days after due date per lease and limited to 5% or $50, whichever is less.

5. Security Cap: Security deposits are limited to 1 month’s rent and must be returned within 14 days of the end of occupancy together with an itemized statement of the portion withheld. Tenants have the right to ask for a walkthrough inspection with the landlord before and at the end of occupancy. Delayed effectiveness to July 14, 2019.

6. Prepaid Rent Cap: Same cap for prepaid rent as exists for security caps and its cumulative between the prepaid rent and security; a total of 1 month.

7. Receipt Requirement: Landlords are required to provide written receipts upon receiving cash rent (i.e., anything besides a personal check).

8. Landlord’s Duty to Mitigate: Landlord required to mitigate damages by re-renting at fair market value if tenant leaves in violation of the lease.

9. Receipt Requirement: Tenant must receive written receipt of payment of rent in cash or any other instrument other than a personal check. The receipt must have the date, amount, property address, and name and signature of person receiving the rent.
  • If transmitted directly to landlord/ authorized agent – receipt must be provided immediately
  • If transmitted indirectly to landlord / authorized agent – receipt must be provided within 15 days

10. Duty to Maintain Receipts: Landlord required to keep records of all cash receipts for at least 3 years.

As to Landlord-Tenant Eviction Proceedings:

1. Written 14-Day Demand for Rent: Demand for rent must now be in writing and must be made with at least 14 days' notice.

2. Notice of Non-Payment: Landlord required to send a notice of non-payment of rent to the tenant by certified mail if tenant fails to pay rent within 5 days of due date.

3. Service of Petition and Notice of Petition. Petition and Notice of Petition must now be served within 10 days of return date but not more than 17 days.

4. NYC Notice of Termination: Effective October 12, 2019, notice of termination for holdover for monthly or month-to-month tenancies in NYC require at least:
  • 30 days’ notice if tenant has occupied unit for less than 1 year or has a lease for a period less than 1 year;
  • 60 days if tenant has occupied or has a lease for more than 1 year but less than 2 years;
  • 90 days if tenant has occupied or has a lease for more than 2 years.

5. Non-NYC Notice of Termination: Only tenants can elect to terminate a month to month / monthly tenancy outside of NYC. Effective October 12, 2019. Landlords can terminate a month to month / monthly tenancy by sending a notice of intent not renew.

6. Additional Rent: Additional rent such as late fees and attorneys’ fees can no longer be recovered in a Landlord-Tenant summary proceeding.

7. Attorney’s Fees upon Default Judgment. Landlord may not recover attorneys' fees upon default judgment.

8. Presumption of Retaliation for Evictions: Rebuttable presumption of retaliation if Landlord commences eviction proceedings within 1 year of tenant's good faith complaint of violation of warranty of habitability.

9. Payment of Rent: Payment of full amount of rent due prior to hearing on non-payment petition shall be accepted by Landlord and renders nonpayment moot.

10. 14-Day Sheriff’s Notice: Sheriff required to give at least 14 days’ notice before executing the warrant of eviction.

11. 30-Day Stay of Issuance of Warrant: For breach of lease claims, court grants a 30-day stay (up from 10 days) of issuance of the warrant during which tenant may correct the breach.

12. Tenant’s Trial Adjournments: Adjournments of trial at tenant’s request increased from maximum of 10 to minimum of 14 days.

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