Warranty of Habitability in New York

Last Updated: June 6, 2023 by Elizabeth Souza

In New York a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed rby NY Cons. Laws RPP §235-b. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability,” also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.

Quick Facts Answer
Landlord Responsibilities Hot/Cold Water, Mailbox, Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector.*Multi-family units may have additional requirements.
Time Limit for Repairs “Reasonable” Amount of Time
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: Yes
  • Repair & Deduct: Yes

Applicable Dwelling Types in New York

The implied warranty of habitability in New York does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family No
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs Yes
RV parks Not addressed
Mobile home parks No
Condos No
Hotels/Motels No

Most laws at the State level apply to multi-family units only. Residents or landlords of single-family dwellings will need to check with their local governments to determine what additional requirements they may have.

For all multi-family rental properties, landlords are required to ensure the property complies with any and all building codes and housing codes as they relate to the safety of the building and/or the health of the residents.

Landlord Responsibilities in New York

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in New York, as indicated below.

Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Multi-family units
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment. Multi-family units (AC sometimes not required)
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Multi-family units
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Multi-family units
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Multi-family units
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Multi-family units
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. In the public areas of multi-family units
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Multi-family units
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Yes
Provide a mailbox. Yes
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. No
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Multi-family units
Provide a working washer/dryer. No

Remember, just because single-family rental properties aren’t addressed at the state level, it doesn’t mean they’re not addressed at the local level. Check with your local government regarding additional landlord/tenant responsibilities. Landlords are also responsible for any public areas of the building which are covered under the warranty of habitability.

Read more

Lead Paint

Landlords of multi-family units are only required to mitigate lead paint if children aged six or younger reside in the rental unit with lead paint or in one of the rental units of an affected property.

Security (Multi-Family Units Only)

Rental properties with at least eight rental units must have a lobby attendant for tenant’s safety and a two-way intercom voice system from each apartment to the front door, this allows tenants to buzz in any invited guests. In addition, all rental unit doors must have peepholes and chain-style locks.

Exterior entrances to the building must have automatic self-closing and self-locking doors (which shall always remain locked, except when an attendant is on duty). Landlords are also required to install window guards in all units with children under the age of ten.

Any elevators must have mirrors that allow tenants to see if anyone else is already on the elevator.

Further, all stairways, entrances, and yard areas must be well-lit between sunrise and sunset.


All multi-family rental properties built after 1947 must be “rat-proof.”


Unless the rental agreement states that the landlord (or his or her agent) will distribute mail to each resident of a multi-family rental property, the landlord must provide “secure” mailboxes for each unit.

Repairs, Recourse & Retaliation in New York

If a rental property is in violation of the implied warranty of habitability in New York, state laws outline how the repair process works, what tenants can do if repairs aren’t made, and how tenants are protected against retaliating landlords.

Requesting Repairs in New York

New York tenants can request repairs verbally or in writing, although written notice is always preferable so that the timing and nature of the request can be proven easily if there’s a dispute about the details.

Renter’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in New York

New York renters have the right to repairs for issues that affect health and safety, unless they caused the issue themselves. The landlord gets “reasonable time” after proper notice to make repairs, which is decided case by case, but usually requires completion within 30 days.

If the issue isn’t fixed, the renter can file a lawsuit seeking repairs or compensation, repair and deduct from rent, or (in extreme cases) break the lease. 

Read More

Landlord Retaliation in New York

New York landlords aren’t allowed to retaliate by canceling leases or substantially changing lease terms, against tenants who have, in good faith, taken one of these actions within the last year:

  • Reporting health and safety violations.
  • Participating in tenant organizations.
  • Pursuing rights under the law or lease.

Non-retaliatory, good-faith motivations fall under an exception. For example, it isn’t retaliation to proportionately increase rent following increased property taxes.

Tenants can respond to retaliation by suing for damages, court costs, and attorney fees, plus injunctions to end the rental agreement or prevent further retaliation. Retaliation is also a defense against eviction.