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Michelle's Guide to General Changes in Residential Landlord and Tenant Laws in New York City, Occasioned by the Statewide Tenant Protection Act of 2019

July 15, 2019

This is Part 3 of my series of articles on the Statewide Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“STPA”). This short article rounds out our examination of the STPA and covers topics that did not fit in to Part 1 (about how the STPA changed the Rent Stabilization Law in New York City) or Part 2 (about how the STPA changed procedures in the landlord and tenant litigation process in New York City)


I. RPL § 226(c) NEW NOTICES TO INCREASE A NON-REGULATED TENANT’S RENT OR TO REFUSE TO RENEW NON-REGULATED TENANCIES


Real Property Law § 226-c (Notice of rent increase or non-renewal of residential tenancy) has been added and states:


"1. Whenever a landlord intends to offer to renew the tenancy of an occupant in a residential dwelling unit with a rent increase equal to or greater than five percent above the current rent, or the landlord does not intend to renew the tenancy, the landlord shall provide written notice as required in subdivision two of this section. If the landlord fails to provide timely notice, the occupant's lawful tenancy shall continue under the existing terms of the tenancy from the date on which the landlord gave actual written notice until the notice period has expired, notwithstanding any provision of a lease or other tenancy agreement to the contrary.
2. (a) If the tenant has occupied the unit for less than one year and does not have a lease term of at least one year, the landlord shall provide at least thirty days' notice.
(b) If the tenant has occupied the unit for more than one year but less than two years, or has a lease term of at least one year but less than two years, the landlord shall provide at least sixty days' notice.
(c) If the tenant has occupied the unit for more than two years or has a lease term of at least two years, the landlord shall provide at least ninety days' notice."

Coupling this section together with the anti-retaliatory eviction statute discussed in Part 2 of this series, it almost becomes like a form of limited rent regulation for free-market apartments. Landlords can no longer refuse to renew tenants or raise their rents exorbitantly with the same ease as before these changes. 


II. RPL § 227-e A RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD NOW HAS A DUTY TO MITIGATE DAMAGES IF A TENANT BREACHES A LEASE.


A residential landlord now has a duty to mitigate. Landlord must take “reasonable and customary actions to rent the premises at fair market value or at the rate agreed to during the tenancy, whichever is lower.” Once landlord re-rents, the new lease terminates the old lease. 

This is a big change and will make it much easier now for tenants to break residential leases.


III. RPL 238-a(2) RESIDENTIAL LATE FEES NOT TO EXCEED $50 (OR 5%)


The maximum late fee that landlord may charge per month, after the rent is five days late, is $50 (or 5%, whichever is lower). 


IV. GOL 7-107 AMENDED SO NO RESIDENTIAL “DEPOSIT OR ADVANCE” SHALL EXCEED ONE MONTH’S RENT AND OTHER CHANGES TO 


NYS General Obligations Law § 7-107 was amended so that, “No [residential] deposit or advance shall exceed the amount of one month’s rent under such contract.” Please notice that the statute affects “advances” as well as deposits. 

There were many other changes to the security deposit statute under GOL § 7-107 that landlords and tenants should read and make themselves aware of, including, but not limited to the fact that there are now inspection provisions that apply both before possession is taken and after vacatur, and if an itemized statement of damages is not provided within a limited time after tenant vacates, landlord will forfeit her right to the deposit. 

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