New York Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: July 14, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

The New York residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a written contract for the exchange of the temporary use of a residential property for regular, periodic payments (“rent”). Once signed by the landlord and tenant, the document becomes legally binding for both parties.

New York Lease Agreement Disclosures

The below disclosures are required for all or some residential lease agreements in New York.

Disclosure Applicable to
Fire Sprinkler System All Units
Security Deposit Holdings All Units with a Security Deposit
Certificates of Occupancy 3 or Fewer Rental Units
Lead Paint All Units Prior to 1978
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Operative Fire Sprinkler System Notice

Applicable to all residential leases in New York.

All rental agreements in New York must include a conspicuous notice (written in bold face font) about whether the property has a functioning operative fire sprinkler system. If there is a system in place, the lease must include the date of maintenance and inspection.

The below is an example of a disclosure to include:

FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM. This rental property or dwelling unit is:
[ ] Equipped with a functioning fire sprinkler system
[ ] NOT equipped with a functioning fire sprinkler system

For functioning systems, the maintenance history is as follows:
_________
_________
_________

Security Deposit Holdings Disclosure

Applicable to any rental agreements where the landlord collects a security deposit in New York.

If a New York landlord asks for a security deposit, they must provide a written disclosure of how those security deposit funds will be kept while the tenant is renting the property.

This disclosure must include the name of the holding institution, the location of the holding, and the sum of the holding. It may also include the account number.

Download: New York Security Deposit Holdings Disclosure Form (PDF)

Certificates of Occupancy

Applicable to 3 or fewer rental units in New York.

Before signing a rental agreement, the owner of the rental property (consisting of three or fewer rental units) shall provide conspicuous notice in bold face type as to whether a certificate of occupancy (if required by law) is currently valid. This certificate ensures that all building codes are met, fees owed to the Department have been paid, and all the paperwork has been completed.

New buildings must have a Certificate of Occupancy and existing buildings shall have a current Certificate of Occupancy. Any building that was built before 1938 is not required to have a Certificate of Occupancy, unless it has changed its use. Owners who provide the tenant with an actual copy of the valid certificate of occupancy shall be deemed to have complied.

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.

It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in New York to:

Download: New York Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form (PDF)

Additional Mandatory Disclosures in New York City

  • Bed Bug Disclosure (applicable to all rental units in NYC)- The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) lists bed bugs as a Class B violation and the landlord must eradicate the bed bugs. This disclosure must include a one-year history of bed bug infestation and the building it is located in. Units with bed bugs may not be rented out. Download: New York City Bed Bug Disclosure Form (PDF)
  • Stovetop Protections Notice (applicable to rental units in a multiple dwelling in NYC)- Landlords must provide an annual notice to each tenant regarding the landlord’s obligation to provide permanent stove safety knobs with integrated locking mechanism or stove knob covers.
  • Signed Lease Agreement (applicable to all rent stabilized units in NYC) – The landlord must provide the tenant with a copy of the signed lease agreement within 30 days of tenancy.

Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)

The below lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by New York law. These disclosures can be helpful to include to help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.

Optional Disclosure How the Disclosure is Helpful
Asbestos This disclosure informs tenants if there is asbestos at the property. If there is asbestos a tenant can take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.
Landlord’s Name & Address Creates a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord. Landlords or any authorized individual to act on behalf of the property should provide contact information (including their address) within or alongside the lease.
Late/Returned Check Fees Landlords should disclose if they will charge a late fee or a returned check fee in the lease agreement. In New York there is a late fee limit which is either $50 or 5% of the rent amount, whichever is greater. Returned check fees are limited to $20 per bad check.
Medical Marijuana Use Inform tenants if medical marijuana use on the property is permittable. Some state laws allow landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.
Mold Disclosure Informing the tenant of the current mold status of a property protects the landlord against future liability of mold damages.
Move-in Checklist A move-in checklist holds the tenant accountable for future damages that they may cause.
Non-Refundable Fees A non-refundable charge must be written in the lease agreement. If a non-refundable charge is not written in the lease, the tenant may be subject to a refund upon termination of the lease.
Shared Utilities Arrangements For rental units with shared utilities, a landlord should disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated. Providing this information to tenants will give them a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
Smoking Inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.

Consequences of Not Including Mandatory Disclosures

Disclosures outline the important health, safety, and property information and vary by state. If a landlord does not provide the tenant with the federally or state-mandated disclosures, they could face legal repercussions or monetary penalties.

If a landlord fails to disclose the lead-based paint hazard disclosure, they can face fines of up to $18,364 per violation. (24 CFR § 30.65)

It’s best to check with your local and state laws on which disclosures you must provide to your tenant.

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