New York Landlord Tenant Laws You Should Know

Landlord-tenant laws and rights are tricky. It’s important to know what they are before you get into a costly legal battle. Additionally, understanding laws is even more difficult when you have investment properties across state lines, as the laws do differ.

However, reading through all of the applicable laws and statutes is tiring. You do not want to rake in a high fee by asking an attorney every little question. Instead, the following short guide goes through every law in the book.

Residential Tenancies

Most rental properties occupied by tenants living in the unit are residential. New York has extensive laws that protect the rights of tenants and landlords in residential properties. They are detailed in the following sections. For information about commercial tenancies, scroll past the residential section or click here.

Finding a Tenant

As per national law, all landlords must comply with the Fair Housing Act.

The Fair Housing Act

You cannot ask a potential tenant questions about race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, any disability, age or medical history.[1] Also, you cannot deny their housing applications because of those characteristics. Additionally, you cannot deny their application for any other personal characteristics, like appearance or sexual orientation.

The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from discrimination in any process pertaining to finding a home. The Department of Housing and Urban Development restricts landlords from doing the following:[2]

  • Refusing to rent or sell a home.
  • Making housing unavailable.
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a home.
  • Provide different housing services or facilities.
  • Falsely deny that a home is available for inspection, sale or rental.
  • Make any statement that indicates limitation or preference based on national origin, religion, sex, disability or the presence of children.
  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with someone exercising their fair housing rights.

Additionally, if your tenant has a physical or mental disability, you must:

  • Pay to make reasonable modifications to the property so that the tenant can use the home. You can require that the tenant change it back at the end of the lease.
  • Make reasonable accommodations to rules, policies, practices or services, if the tenant needs them to live in the home.

If your property qualifies as housing for the elderly, you can restrict tenants to those that meet the age requirement.


For your tenant’s safety, landlord-tenant laws require you to tell a potential tenant about threats to their health.

Lead-Based Paint

While you’re not required to remove lead-based paint, you are required to let the tenant know that it is there. A property built before 1978 likely has lead-based paint on the walls. You need to tell any potential tenant about lead-based paint before they sign the lease. According to EPA regulations, you need to provide the tenant with:[3]

  • A pamphlet about identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards.
  • Any information about other units or common spaces that have lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards

Security Deposits

There is not a state limit on what landlords can charge as a security deposit.[4]

Additionally, the New York Attorney General says that if you increase rent after you collect the security deposit, you can similarly increase the security deposit. Security deposits are typically one month’s rent. You must save the deposit in a trust or in an interest-bearing account by a bank. Your tenant keeps the interest that the security deposit earns during the tenancy. However, you can keep up to 1 percent as an annual handling fee.

You cannot mix a security deposit with your own money. If you own a building with more than six tenants, you must put the security deposit in the bank. You must also inform the tenants in writing the bank’s name, address and the amount of the deposit. You must give the tenant the option to collect it annually, as part of rent, or when the lease ends.

At the end of the lease, you have the right to use the security deposit as reimbursement for unpaid rent and damages – beyond normal wear and tear. After you have made any deductions, you must reimburse your tenant the security deposit in a timely manner.

If your occupied property is sold, you must transfer the security deposits to the new owner within five days, or return the deposit to your tenant. In this case, you would also need to give the tenants the name, and address of the new owner in writing, by mail. If you buy a rent-stabilized building, you are responsible for returning security deposits and any interest to the tenants. You are liable even if the previous owner did not give you the security deposits.

Collecting Rent

Collecting rent in New York is different than other states. The government has classified some of them as rent controlled and rent stabilized. That means there are a few extra guidelines you’ll need to follow when you invest in property in New York.

Rent Control

Rent Control continues for properties built before 1947 with tenants or successors who have lived there since before 1971. Rent control is in effect in some areas of New York City, Albany, Westchester and other counties. You can increase rent every two years on a rent controlled property to reflect changes in operating costs. After the tenant or successor leaves the unit, it becomes rent stabilized or completely removed from regulation. Rent control restricts the owner from evicting tenants too. Very few properties are rent controlled. Only existing properties are labeled as rent controlled, no new properties are labeled as rent controlled.

Rent Stabilization

Rent Stabilization exists across New York State in buildings with six or more apartments built before January 1974. In New York City, it is used for buildings with six or more units built between 1947 and 1974. It’s also used for buildings with three or more apartments constructed or extensively renovated with special tax benefits after 1973. Tenants in these units have the right to renew their leases.

The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) oversees rent stabilization. The Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) votes once a year on how much landlords should raise the stabilized rent the following year.

If you consistently raise rent, you can eventually deregulate your unit.[5] A property reaches the Deregulation Rent Threshold (DRT) at $2,700 a month. A unit that has reached DRT and is vacant is deregulated. Or, if rent is greater than $2,700, and, for the last two years, the tenants have made more than $200,000 combined, your property is deregulated. You need to file for initial registration within 90 days of a unit becoming rent stabilized.

After that point, you must file an annual registration on April 1st for each unit. You then must make copies of the form and distribute them to your tenants. If you do not file, you wo not receive rent increases. All rent stabilized leases must include a rent stabilized lease rider. Leases must last one or two years if they are rent stabilized.

Problem Solving

Knowing the laws regarding common landlord-tenant arguments can save you from having to go to court. Especially, considering you might end up paying your tenant’s attorney fees.

Repairing Damages

It is your responsibility to maintain electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating and ventilating systems and appliances in working order. These include refrigerators and stoves. Your unit must be clean and free of vermin. You must make all repairs in a reasonable amount of time.[6]

Tenant’s Right to Habitability

Tenants have the right to habitability, regardless of what their contract says.[7] This law includes basic living needs like heat, hot water and your obligation to get rid of an insect infestation. If you breach this law, the tenant has the right to sue you for a rent reduction. The court or the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) can reduce rent if you’ve violated the law. Your tenant must inform you of the problem in writing at least 10 days before going to the court or DHCR. Tenants can make repairs and charge you for them if they have waited more than 10 days for you to do so.

Attorney Fees

If your lease specifies that your tenant pays for your attorney’s fees and court fees when the court decides in your favor.[8] It also says you pay your tenant’s court and attorney fees, should the court decide in his or her favor.


A tenant can keep a pet in their unit unless the lease specifically states that they cannot. A court will waive the lease clause if you knew about a previous tenant who openly kept a pet on property for 3 months or more after signing a no-pet lease.[9] Tenants who are blind or deaf can have guide dogs or service dogs, regardless of a no-pet clause. Tenants with a chronic mental illness can have emotional support animals, regardless of a no-pet clause.[10]

When You Can Enter Your Property

You can only enter your tenant’s home only if you’ve given advanced notice. You also need the tenant’s consent and you need to enter at a reasonable time of day. If the tenant is unreasonably withholding their consent, you may seek a court order to enter.[11]

Utility Services

Your unit must have heat between October 1 and May 31.[12] If you ask your tenant to pay the utility bill themselves, they have the right to ask you for the past two years’ of bills. If you live in New York City, you must provide them free of charge.[13]

You need to provide all tenants of multiple dwellings with both hot and cold water.[14]

If for some reason, you’re not up to date on your utility payments, the utility company needs to send written notice to the tenant and to certain government agencies of its intent to shut off utilities for your unit. Your tenant can then choose to pay the bill to avoid utility shut-off.[15]

Your tenant also has the right to deduct that amount from their rent.[16] In fact, the Public Service Commission will assist your tenant in doing so. If the utilities are turned off, you are liable for compensatory and punitive damages. The same is true if the building is heated by oil. The tenant has the right to pay for the delivery and deduct it from rent should you not pay.[17]

Apartment Sharing

You cannot restrict occupancy of your apartment to the names on the lease.[18] A tenant can share the apartment with immediate family, dependents and one additional occupant. If the tenant on the lease moves out, other occupants have no right to stay in the property without the landlord’s consent. When more than one tenant is on the lease, the tenants can share the apartment with their immediate family and dependents. However, your tenant must inform you of the names of any occupants within 30 days of moving into the apartment. At least one of the tenants on the lease needs to live in the apartment as a primary residence for others to remain as occupants in the property.

Safety Obligations

Safety precautions like fire detectors and mirrors in elevators can protect your tenant and you. These safety precautions protect your investment too. They can also protect you from battling costly lawsuits.

Fire Detector

You must install at least one smoke detector within 10 feet of every bedroom in your unit. The tenant can reimburse you for up to $10 for the cost of purchasing and installing the detector. You are responsible for repairing or replacing the detector during its first year in use, if it breaks for a reason that is not the tenant’s fault.[19]

Carbon Monoxide Detector

You must provide and install carbon monoxide alarms within 15 feet of each bedroom.[20]

Door Locks

Doors must lock and close by themselves at all entrances. If most your tenants want a two-way intercom in their units you have to give them one, but you’re allowed to charge them for it.[21]

Lobby Attendant

if your apartment complex has more than eight apartments, your tenant can choose to hire and pay a doorman.[22] However, you can opt to hire and pay the doorman instead.

Mirrors in Elevators

You need to install a mirror in every self-service elevator. This way, tenants know if there is anyone inside of the elevator before they go in.[23]

Fire or Damage That Diminishes the Property’s Habitability

A tenant can cancel a lease and leave an uninhabitable unit, as long as the tenant did not cause the fire or other damage. You will have to return any advanced payments and security deposit and you cannot keep collecting
rent.[24] Your tenant can get a court order or a Division of Housing and Community Renewal order to lower the rent if part of the property is damaged. The landlord must then repair the damaged parts of the unit and return them to habitable condition.

Extra Locks, Peepholes and Window Guards

Your tenant can add a lock smaller than three inches in circumference to your property.[25] Your tenant needs to give you a key for any lock they install. Otherwise, he or she has violated the obligations of tenancy. Violation is possibly grounds for eviction. You cannot ask your tenant to pay more rent because they added an extra lock.

You need to have a peephole on the entrance door of each unit.[26] If you’re the landlord of multiple dwellings in New York City, you need to add a chain door guard. To abide by U.S. Postal regulations, you need to provide secure mailboxes for each unit, if you have more than three units. You need to keep mailboxes and locks in good repair. You need to give your tenant a form asking if there are children under 10 living in the unit that informs them of the right to request window guards.

If a child under 10 lives in the apartment, you must add window guards.[27] You also need to have window guards on all hallway windows. The only exceptions are windows leading to emergency exits.

Ending or Renewing a Lease

While evictions are not uncommon, there are reasons a tenant might legally break your lease early. Military personnel, elderly tenants may have valid and legal reasons to break a lease. Additionally, there are reasons why you cannot break a lease.


During a lease, you can evict tenants who violate any substantial provision of the lease, local housing laws or codes. You need to give your tenant formal notice of your intention to evict them. If they do not leave by the date you’ve given them, you can evict them.[28] You begin the eviction process by creating a summary of non-payment for the court. You can use a summary of holdover proceeding if the tenant significantly violated the lease. It’s important to note, only a sheriff, marshal or constable can carry out a court-ordered eviction.

All evictions must go through the court.[29] If you choose to carry out the eviction yourself, the tenant can recover triple damages.[30] You’re subject to criminal and civil penalties, and the tenant has the right to move back into the property.

Lastly, you cannot evict an elderly tenant or a tenant who has lived in a rent-controlled property for more than 20 years, just so that you can live there instead.[31]

Subletting or Assigning Leases

Legally, a tenant can sublet or assign a lease. However, it is up to you as the landlord to provide written
[32] If you decide not to allow your tenant to sublease or assign the lease, you do not need to have a reason. Your tenant cannot sublease or assign the lease without your permission.

Retaliatory Eviction

You cannot evict your tenant because they complained to a government agency about a health or safety law violation, they tried to protect their rights under the lease or they participated in tenant organizations.[33]


You cannot harass your tenant to make them want to give up any rights granted to them by the law. You must not interfere with your tenant’s privacy, comfort or quiet enjoyment of home.[34] The court can fine landlords guilty of harassment $2,000, the first time, and $10,000 each time after.

Military Tenants

Active duty military who signed a lease before entering active duty or who had dependent’s living in the unit can terminate a lease.[35] The tenant needs to provide you with written notice any time after they begin service and it ends 30 days after the next date rent is due.

Ending Tenancy Due to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking

If the court is shielding your tenant, he or she can give you 10-day’s notice to seek a court order ending a lease.[36] The tenant is then released from any further rental payments after those 10 days. He or she must prove that there is a risk of physical or emotional harm to themselves or to their child from the person who instigated the abuse. The tenant must ask you to end the lease first. If you say no, then they have the right to ask the court to end the lease, so long as they do not owe you any money.

Elderly Tenants

A tenant who is 62 or older can terminate the lease if a doctor says that they can no longer live independently and therefore must move in with family or live in an adult care facility.[37] By law, once the tenant notifies you of the above, they no longer need to pay rent for the rest of the lease. You need to refund your tenant if he or she paid you in advance for future months. The tenant must give you a termination date, a physician’s certification, and a notarized statement from a family member whom they are moving in with or documentation of admission into an adult care facility. If you interfere with the tenant or the tenant’s family moving out their belongings, you’re guilty of a misdemeanor.

Tenant’s Death

A family member living in a unit, whose name is not on the lease, usually has no right to take over the lease when the tenant dies. You can choose whether to create a new lease or ask the person to leave. Family members could succeed the lease if they’ve lived with the tenant for more than two years, including time in active service or as a student. However, it is only one year if the family member is a senior citizen or has a disability.

Additionally, if they have lived in the unit since the signing date, they have a claim to the lease.[38] However, if the property is rent controlled or rent stabilized, a family member who lived with the tenant for two or more years immediately before his or her death or permanent departure has the right to a renewal lease or protection from eviction.[39]

They also have this right if they lived in the apartment from the beginning of the tenancy. If the family member is a senior or disabled, they only need to live in the property one year. DHCR defines family as the spouse, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law and daughter-in-law of the tenant. It also includes any person who lived in the unit as a primary resident, who can prove emotional and financial commitment to the tenant.

Commercial Tenancies

New York does not have many laws to protect landlords or tenants. In court proceedings, most issues are resolved based on the language of the contract. The few specifications New York makes are detailed below.

Security Deposits

Security deposits remain the property of the tenant throughout the time that the landlord holds it, including any interest accrues.[40]

You do not need to put the deposit in a bank account, but if you do, you need to notify the tenant of the name and address of the bank and how much you deposited. If it is an interest-bearing account you are entitled to keep 1 percent of the security deposit every year to cover administrative expenses. The rest of the interest needs to be paid to the tenant annually during the lease term.

You cannot commingle the money from your tenant’s security deposit with your own money or in your own account.

While your lease is law in most cases, your lease cannot override the laws governing security deposits.

Additionally, as later stated in the Bankruptcy section, if your tenant goes bankrupt, the security deposit will be frozen and you will not be able to use the money in the account to cover damages or unpaid rent.

Safety Obligations

While residential have the Warranty of Habitability to guarantee them a safe and sanitary home, commercial tenants are not given such protection. The landlord has the obligation to repair structural conditions that substantially impact a tenants ability to use the property for it’s intended purpose. Additionally, you need to follow local building codes. However, any other guarantees of maintenance not detailed in the lease are not required of the landlord.

Otherwise, the interior of the property is as is. Your tenant is responsible for making any repairs and alterations that are not your responsibility, as per the lease.

You cannot lock your tenant out of the unit, even if he or she has violated the lease.

Collecting Rent

While many residential buildings in New York are rent regulated, that is not the case for commercial tenancies. When a lease expires, there is no limit on how much you can charge for rent. You also have no obligation to renew the lease, unless your contract says otherwise.

Non-Payment Summary Proceedings

If your tenant does not pay rent, you can take them to court with a Non-Payment Claim, which is a claim that your tenant owes you money due, according to the lease.

Before taking your tenant to court for failure to pay rent, you must give your tenant a “Rent Demand.” The demand notifies the tenant that you plan to take them to court for nonpayment. You must then give the tenant three days to pay you the rent that is due before you take them to court. The demand can be written or verbal, depending on the language of the lease. The lease cannot waive the tenant’s right to the “Rent Demand.”

Your “Rent Demand” must give the tenant a “good faith” approximation of how much he or she owes, how he or she can go about paying the money owed, and what the consequence will be if the tenant does not pay.

You must serve the tenant according to the following protocol if you choose to deliver the “Rent Demand” in writing.

Note: In this scenario, it is easier to give an oral demand; however, the written demand gives you more proof in court and is harder for the tenant to deny having received. Additionally, you will need to know the How to Serve Papers procedures for later steps.

Whether you choose to give a written demand or not, it is important to learn and know the procedures.

How to Serve Papers

You need to get a friend or licensed process server to give the papers to all the tenants in the documents, you cannot deliver them yourself.

The person who serves the papers cannot serve them on a Sunday, Sabbath Day or another day of religious observance. The person must also complete an Affidavit of Service in front of a Notary and submit it within three days of the personal delivery or mailing. They must be served no less than five days before the court date and no more than 12 days before the court date.

Your chosen server must try to hand deliver the papers to the tenant’s address. The server can leave the papers with whoever answers the door, so long as the person lives in the home and is over 18. However, if the papers aren’t given to the actual tenant, the server must mail two copies to the tenant the next business day. One by regular mail and one by certified mail. Delivering by mail or to another person is called substituted service. If neither of those methods work, the server must make another attempt to deliver the papers during a different time period (i.e. if the first attempt was between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., the second attempt should be after 5 p.m.).

After two attempts have been made, by personal delivery or substituted service, the person serving the paper should put the papers in a conspicuous place by attaching them to the door of the residence or slipping them underneath the door. Then the server must, once again, mail two copies to the tenant one by regular mail and one by certified mail.

Your server must then complete the Affidavit of Substituted or Conspicuous Place Service if he or she used either of those methods.

The Court

If your tenant pays you after you give him or her the rent demand, but does not pay you the correct amount, you must make a new demand asking for the correct amount due before beginning a Nonpayment Summary Proceeding. If your tenant then pays you in full, you cannot proceed to trial.

You will need to file two forms with the court after you have made the demand. The Notice of Petition and the Petition. If you made a written demand, you should include it with the papers you file.

Bring a blank check with you to cover filing fee at the court.

The court clerk will give you an index number or docket number that you will use on all of your documentation.

The clerk will then give you the date and you will serve the papers using How to Serve Papers procedures.

Then you appear in court. You say that your present and follow further instructions when the judge or clerk announces your case. If the tenant is absent, the court may give you a default judgment.

Prior to court, your tenant may file an answer to your demands, which you can read to understand what defenses he or she will use in court.

The judge can then decide to:

  1. Work out a settlement, which is a negotiated agreement between you and the tenant.
  2. Arrange mediation, which is a mediator is used to help you and the tenant come to an agreement about your dispute without the need for a judge to decide.
  3. Proceed with the trial.

The tenant might claim that you did not make the demand in time, you did not follow How to Serve Papers procedures, you are not authorized under the contract to file a Nonpayment Summary Proceeding, the amount claimed past due is incorrect, the tenant paid some or all past due rent, the tenant offered you rent and you refused to accept it or you owe the tenant money for rent overcharge.

If the court decides in your favor, you can evict the tenant; however, only a sheriff, constable, marshal or other enforcement officer is authorized to use the Warrant of Eviction to evict the tenant.

The officer will give the tenant the Warrant of Eviction and 72 hours later the officer can evict the tenant. You will need to pay fees to the enforcement officers for the service.


If your tenant goes bankrupt, an automatic stay is placed on all creditors. Meaning, you cannot enforce the lease the automatic stay, also called an automatic stay injunction. Additionally, The security deposit is “frozen,” so you cannot use it to cover unpaid rent.

If your lease expires before the bankruptcy or while the bankruptcy is pending, you can collect what is owed to you and end the lease.

However, if your lease expires after bankruptcy has been filed and approved, you are stuck.

Ending or Renewing a Lease

A lease can be ended through eviction, when the lease ends or if the tenant terminates early. The procedures are detailed below. Additionally, in the Rent section we detail how an eviction can happen through Non-Payment Proceedings.

When a Tenant Terminates the Lease Early

When a lease is broken by the tenant under a residential tenancy, the landlord has the obligation of trying to fill the vacancy. Under a commercial lease, however, you can continue to collect rent from the tenant until the lease is over.


If at the end of the lease, your tenant does not leave, you can start a Holdover Summary Proceeding to evict the tenant immediately, unless your lease says that the tenant has more time to leave.[41] You can also start a Holdover Summary Proceeding if you are terminating the lease before the expiration date because the tenant has significantly breached a substantial obligation of the lease (i.e. using the property for illegal purposes). The breach has to cause actual harm, damage or substantial injury, according to New York law. However, if the lease states that a certain violation is a substantial obligation, the court will usually rule in your favor.

Before starting a Holdover Summary Proceeding, you must give the tenant a Notice to Terminate. You can either tell the tenant in person, an Oral Notice to Terminate, or a Written Notice to Terminate. If you give your tenant a Written Notice to Terminate, you cannot be the one to deliver it. The notice must state that your tenant’s right to occupy the property has ended and the date they must leave by.

You don’t need to give Notice to Terminate if the lease expired on its own terms.

For help preparing a Notice to Terminate, you can read the Office of Trial Court Operations’ instructions for preparing a Notice to Terminate and fill out its sample Notice to Terminate.

Your notice to terminate must be delivered to your tenant at least one rental period before you want him or her to leave your property. I.e. if the tenant pays you monthly, and you want him or her to leave September 30, you need to give him or her notice by August 31.

It is important that you do not accept payment from the tenant after giving the tenant the Notice to Terminate because, at that point, a judge can legally decide that a new rental agreement has been started and dismiss your Holdover Summary Proceeding.

To begin the Holdover Summary Proceeding, you need to file a Notice of Petition – Holdover and a Holdover Petition to Recover Possession of Real Property. You’ll need to bring both completed forms to the court with a blank check to pay the fee for filing the papers. If you gave a Written Notice to Terminate you should attach it to the paperwork.

The clerk will give you an index number or docket number for your case which you should write on your Notice of Petition and Petition before serving your tenant. You must include the numbers on all papers you file with the court.

The clerk will give you the date for the hearing and you will need to serve the court papers to your tenant. You then must serve the papers to your tenant according to the how to serve procedures listed above.

Then you appear in court with all of your evidence to prove why the tenant should be evicted. You can use any stipulation of your lease to evict the tenant. Remember, the judge will be coming to a verdict based on the lease you wrote.

Your tenant could have filed an answer to you petition, which you can read to learn the tenant’s defenses.

The court clerk or judge will announce your case, at which point you should say that you’re present and follow further instructions.

The judge can then decide to:

  1. Work out a settlement, which is a negotiated agreement between you and the tenant.
  2. Arrange mediation, which is a mediator is used to help you and the tenant come to an agreement about your dispute without the need for a judge to decide.
  3. Proceed with the trial.

The tenant can claim certain defenses, such as not receiving a Notice to Terminate, not receiving the Notice to Terminate in the proper amount of time, that you did not follow the rules for serving the Notice of Petition or Petition, that you are not authorized to file a Holdover Summary Proceeding, that you accepted full or partial rent from the tenant after giving the Notice to Terminate or that there are conditions in the rental property that make it unsafe.

The judge will then choose to dismiss your lawsuit or rule in your favor by giving you a Judgment. The Judgment may immediately evict the tenant, give you the right to collect money based on the past due rent or to delay or stay the date when the tenant has to leave until he or she finds a new location.

If the court decides in your favor, you can evict the tenant; however, only a sheriff, constable, marshal or other enforcement officer is authorized to use the Warrant of Eviction to evict the tenant.

The officer will give the tenant the Warrant of Eviction and 72 hours later the officer can evict the tenant. You will need to pay fees to the enforcement officers for the service.

You and the tenant both have the right to appeal the judge’s decision. The tenant can also submit a form called Order to Show Cause, which means the judge reopens the case so the tenant can submit one more piece of evidence. If you’re given an affidavit that the case has been reopened, read it and show up for the court date. It will also explain why the tenant is asking the judge to reopen the case.

Counterclaims and Defenses Against Lawsuits

When you take your tenant to court for nonpayment of rent, he or she can file a counterclaim against your claim. You can choose to waive the tenant’s right to counterclaim at the beginning of the lease by stipulating it in the contract. This is not possible for residential tenancies, but it is for commercial ones.

The court can also separate a tenant’s counterclaim from your claim.

That means the court would rule one each claim separately instead of using one as a defense for the other. Meaning both you and the tenant could be liable.

Additionally, your tenant can defend against a lawsuit from you if he or she was locked out of the property (eviction), deprived of the properties beneficial use (constructive eviction) or you did not deliver the court papers correctly (see above section on how to serve papers).

Stopping the Eviction

Your tenant can stop you from filing to terminate a lease with a Yellowstone Injunction. A Yellowstone Injunction means that the procedures to terminate the tenancy are put on pause while the tenant attempts to resolve the problem.

Yellowstone injunctions exist because a tenant invests a lot of time and money into a commercial property, which it is a shame to waste on 30-days notice. The injunction is granted to tenants who have a lot to lose and the means and desire to solve the problem.

Typically, the court holds a certain amount of money as bond to compensate you if – worst case scenario – the tenant cannot resolve the issue.

Otherwise, if the tenant resolves the issue, (i.e. pays past due rent or fixes a portion of the building that is violating code) he or she can continue to be your tenant, so long as no other issues arise.

The tenant needs to request this lease before you actually terminate the lease.


  1. The Fair Housing Act
  2. The Department of Housing and Urban Development
  3. The Environmental Protection Agency
  4. New York’s Real Property Law (220-238)
  5. The Rent Guidelines Board Regulations
  6. New York’s Administrative Code 27-2011
  7. New York Real Property Law 235-B
  8. Real Property Law 234
  9. New York City Administrative Code 27-2009.1
  10. New York Civil Rights Law 47-B
  11. Public Service Law 228
  12. Multiple Dwelling Law 79
  13. Energy Law 17-103
  14. Multiple Dwelling Law 75
  15. Real Property Law 235-A
  16. Public Service Law 33
  17. Multiple Dwelling Law 302-C
  18. Real Property Law 235-F
  19. New York City Administrative Code 27-2045
  20. New York Executive Law 378
  21. Multiple Dwelling Law 50-A
  22. Multiple Dwelling Law 50-C
  23. Multiple Dwelling Law 51-B
  24. Real Property Law 227
  25. Multiple Dwelling Law 51-C
  26. New York City Administrative Code 27-2043
  27. New York City Health Code 131.15
  28. New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law 711
  29. Real Property Law 225
  30. New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law 853
  31. The State of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations Part 2524 of the Rent Stabilization Code Chapter
  32. Real Property Law 226-B
  33. Real Property Law 223
  34. Real Property Law 235-D
  35. New York Military Law Section 310
  36. New York Real Property Law 227-C
  37. New York Real Property Law 227-A
  38. New York Code, Rules and Regulations 2520.6
  39. the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR)
  40. New York General Obligations Law Article 7 Title 1 Section 7-103
  41. Office of Trial Court Operations

Read about Landlord/Tenant Laws for other states: