If you are renting out property in New York or looking for a place to rent, you will probably come across the lease agreement somewhere along the way.
A New York lease agreement is a legal document that outlines the rights and obligations of the landlord and the tenant.
The main right of the landlord is to require the rent payment for the property they are renting out. On the other side, the tenant shall be allowed to use the property without being disturbed.
A written lease agreement is the best way for both parties to protect their rights and define their duties.
After finding a suitable property, the tenant usually submits the rental application to the landlord. The rental application includes the tenant's basic information as well as financial and background reports. The landlord then reviews the application and, if everything is in order, invites the tenant to start the lease agreement drafting process.
New York Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
Failing to include the mandatory disclosures provided by federal and state laws and regulations in the lease agreement can have legal consequences. So, ensure to add the following:
Lead-based paint disclosure. As provided by federal law, the landlord must inform the tenant if there is any lead-based paint hazard at the property. This disclosure is mandatory for any property built before 1978 or if there is a known presence of lead-based paint. (Section 1018 of Title X)
Security deposit location disclosure. If a security deposit is required during the lease, the landlord must inform the tenant about the name and address of the financial institution where the security deposit is located. (§ 7-103(2))
Transfer of the property disclosure. The landlord must notify the tenant if they have sold or relinquished the property to another person or company. They must provide evidence of the lease assignment and transfer of the security deposit no later than 5 days after the transfer was made. (§ 7-105)
Sprinkler disclosure. This disclosure contains information about whether there is a sprinkler system installed at the leased property and when the last maintenance and inspection of the system were made. (Article 7, Section 231-A)
Indoor allergen hazard disclosure. This disclosure is mandatory only for properties located in New York City. The landlord must inform the tenant about their rights and duties in relation to the indoor allergen hazard control rules provided under NYC Admin Code § 27-2017.2. Additionally, the landlord shall provide the pamphlet “What Tenants Should Know About Indoor Allergens” to any tenant before the lease term starts.
Bed bug disclosure (New York City only). The landlord must disclose to the tenant if there has been a bed bug infestation at the leased unit or in the building where the leased unit has been located in the past year. (NYC Admin Code § 27–2018.1)
Smoking policy disclosure (New York City only). Lease agreements for class A properties with multiple dwelling units must include a smoking policy, providing smoking rules at the property. (NYC Admin Code 5, § 17-506.1(b))
Stovetop protection disclosure. The landlord must provide annual notification to all the tenants about the landlord's obligation to provide stove knob covers in the units where a child of six years of age or younger is residing. (NYC Admin Code § 27–2046.4)
New York Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
Besides the mandatory disclosures, many contractual parties choose to include a few additional clauses in the lease agreement, such as:
Asbestos disclosure. This disclosure should be included for every leased property built before 1981 or where there is a known presence of asbestos in the building construction. It shall also contain guidelines for the tenant on using the property without disturbing the asbestos fibers.
Move-in checklist. By including this checklist in your lease agreement, you prevent any disputes about the damages between the contractual parties. It will contain a description of any damages before the tenant moves in and should be compared with the damages seen after the tenant moves out.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
The landlord can face legal consequences for any damages caused by health and safety hazards not properly disclosed in the lease agreement.
If the landlord fails to include the lead-based paint disclosure in the lease agreement, they can be fined up to $19,507. (24 CFR § 30.65)
New York Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
New York statute sets the maximum security deposit limit at one month’s rent. (§ 7-108-1a(a))
Security Deposit Return
The landlord must return the security deposit or any remaining portion to the tenant within 14 days after the tenant has vacated the property. (§ 7-108-1a(e))
If the landlord has made some deductions for the cleaning, repairs, or due rent, they must provide an itemized list with all deductions.
The landlord will lose the right to retain any amount if they fail to provide an itemized list of deductions and send the security deposit within the provided deadline.
When is Rent Due in New York? (Grace Period)
The due date for the rent payment is usually provided in the lease agreement by the contractual parties.
The New York state law provides a grace period of 5 days for the rent payment. That means that if the rent is not paid by day 6 of the due date, the landlord can start charging the late fees or start the eviction process. (§ 238-A (2))
Be aware that before starting the eviction, the landlord must issue a 14-day notice to the tenant, instructing them to pay the rent or vacate the leased unit.
New York Rent Late Fees
The late rent fee must be disclosed in the lease agreement to be legally charged to the tenant. The late fee cannot exceed $50 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is less. (§ 238-A (2))
New York NSF Checks
If the tenant uses the bad check to pay rent, the landlord is eligible for reasonable compensation.
The law doesn’t define reasonable compensation. However, any NSF compensation fee shall be disclosed in the lease agreement and agreed upon between the landlord and the tenant.
New York Landlord’s Right to Enter
The New York City Administrative Code provides that the landlord can access the property to make repairs and inspections during a reasonable time.
Other than New York City regulations, no state law provides further details about the landlord’s right to access the leased unit.
In practice, the reasonable time is considered to be a period between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. The landlord shall also provide a minimum of 24-hour notice before accessing the leased unit.
New York Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the lease agreement is legally binding under New York state law.
The lease agreement is considered binding and enforceable as soon as all the contractual parties sign it.
Most of the lease agreements in New York will have the following structure:
Names and addresses of the landlord and the tenant
Details about the rental property
Maximal occupancy of the rental unit
Rent amount, due date, and method of payment
Mandatory disclosures required by federal and state law
Rights and duties of the landlord and the tenant
Rules about the lease agreement termination
Date and location of the contract signature
To get your own New York lease agreement, visit our website and simply download one of the many templates used for leased property in New York.
You can choose between many different templates based on the duration and type of your lease.
After creating your lease agreement, inspect the property and check if there are any damages that need repair or if any cleaning needs to be done before you move in.
If everything is in order, the landlord and the tenant should sign the move-in form. This will make the moving-out process much quicker and easier for both parties.