New York Landlord Retaliation Laws

New York Landlord Retaliation Laws

Last Updated: June 6, 2023

Tenant Protected Actions
  • Health/Safety Complaints to Gov’t or Landlord
  • Participation in Tenant Organization
  • Enforcing Lawful Rights
Landlord Retaliatory Actions
  • Refusing to Renew the Lease
  • Substantially Changing Lease Terms (incl. rent increases)
Penalties for Retaliation
  • Court Injunction
  • Protection Against Eviction
  • Sue for Damages + Court / Att’y Costs

When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in New York?

It’s illegal for New York landlords to retaliate by refusing to renew the lease or by substantially changing the lease terms (including rent increases) against a tenant who has, in good faith, taken one of the following actions within the last year:

  • Reports health and safety violations to the landlord or government.
  • Participates in a tenant organization.
  • Pursues rights under the law or rental agreement.

There’s an exception when the landlord establishes a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent in a proportionate and legal way as a response to a large increase in property tax is not retaliating, even if a tenant has recently complained about maintenance.

What Can Tenants Do in Response in New York?

If a landlord retaliates in New York, the tenant can respond by suing for damages, court costs, and attorney fees. The tenant could also ask for injunctions to end the rental agreement or prevent further retaliation. Finally, provable retaliation is an absolute defense against eviction proceedings.