A residential lease agreement in New York is a written contract to exchange the use (temporarily) of a residential property for periodic and regular payments. Once it's signed by the tenant and landlord, it becomes legally binding for both people.
New York Lease
New York rental lease agreements are contracts between the prospective tenant and landlord. This document states the rules associated with living in the rental unit, such as the security deposits maximum, monthly rent payments, or recurring fees.
Generally, New York lease agreements comply with current laws in the state, which we briefly cover on this page. Tenants with sublease agreements also follow these rules.
What to Include
Generally, the rental agreement must include every rule that can be enforced while the tenant lives in the rental property. Let's take a look at common ones:
A security deposit is crucial within the rental property agreement because it protects landlords if there are damages or lost property.
The maximum security deposit can be used by the landlord to pay for damages the tenants caused to the property. It can include:
- Cracks, holes, and other structural damage
- Painting different colors than what was agreed upon
- Damaged fixtures (switches, lighting units, door knobs, etc.)
- Stained, discolored, and damaged flooring
- Disappearance or damage to furnishings staying within the property (including gas-powered stoves)
New York landlords can charge one month's rent as a deposit unless they are part of the City Rent & Rehabilitation Law and the Emergency Housing Rent Control rule.
Once the rental agreement ends, the property owner or landlord is required to return the money left to the tenant within 14 days.
Evictions and Lease Termination
Typically, landlord-tenant laws state that either party can draft a lease termination letter to end a tenancy with a 30-day notice.
Evictions for tenants are only lawful if the owner brings a court proceeding and obtains a judgment of possession by the courts. Sheriffs, constables, and marshals must carry out the eviction. Under federal law, the landlord or tenant cannot evict a tenant by unlawful or forceful means.
Landlord's Right to Entry
According to the NY government, a landlord can enter an apartment any time without notice in an emergency. However, they must provide appropriate warning for agreed-upon or necessary services and repairs.
Download a New York Rental Application or Contract Template for Free
If you find it too hard to create your agreements yourself, you can download a free form template here:
Those who want to build or customize their own may also do so.
Build Your Own
You can customize and build your own lease agreement, but it's important to remember that some lease agreements must be unique and include specific rules according to New York state laws.
The goal is to get a signed lease from a tenant who agrees to pay rent each month for use of the property. New York law says you to add these required disclosures to the agreement before a lease signing:
Operative Fire Sprinkler System Notice
A landlord must inform tenants of a fire sprinkler system if it's included on the property. State law requires it to be written in bolded font to indicate if the property has one. If there is a system, the lease has to include the date of inspection and maintenance.
Bed Bug Disclosure
The bed bug disclosure is only required in New York City, but it's recommended to include them in all residential leases. Overall, the HPD (Housing Preservation and Development) lists these pests as a class-B violation, so the landlord is required to eradicate them. You've got to provide a one-year history of infestation and which buildings or units are affected.
Often, an annual inspection is required of the entire space, and units with active infestations can't be rented out.
Certificate of Occupancy
Tenants can't legally occupy buildings until they have a Certificate of Occupancy issued. This ensures that the building codes have been met, the Department fees have been paid, and the paperwork is complete. It includes information about:
- Construction inspections
- Plumbing inspections
- Electrical inspections
- Elevator inspections
- Builder's pavement plan
- Building survey
- Owner's cost affidavit
Before you have the tenant sign, the landlord must provide this certificate. Buildings built before 1938 aren't required to have the CO.
Security Deposit Holdings for Rental Property Disclosure
This disclosure is required whenever the landlord collects security deposits. They must provide information about how the funds are kept while the tenant rents the property. It can only be one month's rent. Also, the disclosure has to include the name of the financial institution holding the money, its location, and the sum.
Lead-based Paint Disclosure
Federal law requires that homes built before 1978 include risks associated with lead-based paint. The landlord must:
- Fill out a disclosure form and attach it to the lease agreement.
- Provide each tenant with an EPA-approved pamphlet about lead-based paint dangers.
These disclosures and addendums aren't required by NY law but can be beneficial:
- Name and address of the landlord
- Medical marijuana usage rules
- Move-in checklist
- Shared utility arrangements
- Check fees (late and returned)
- Rules for late payments
- Late fees
- Mold disclosure
- Asbestos disclosure
Even a standard residential lease agreement can be overwhelming to finish at first because the landlord must ensure it's all correct. Therefore, property management software can be beneficial.
DoorLoop lets you upload your customized lease templates quickly and autofill them with the information necessary. Plus, tenant screening happens in one click, allowing you to handpick tenants easily.
If you're interested in learning more about DoorLoop, set up a call and see it at work for yourself.
How Long Should a Residential Lease Agreement Be for New York Residents?
The maximum lease term in New York is one year. Oral leases for shorter terms are allowed, but they can't be longer than a year.
Is a Contract to Lease Binding for New York?
Yes, leases are a legally binding contract in New York. They have a fixed term and include information about each months' rent. There might be itemized deductions that the tenant is responsible for.
Does a New York Residential Lease Agreement Need to Be Notarized?
A rental lease agreement doesn't have to be notarized by the landlord or tenant in New York City or other Burroughs.