Landlord and Lease Information
- Take legal responsibility for paying the rent each month for the full term of the lease; this means that if the landlord requires you to sign a 12 month lease, you must pay for 12 months, even if you only need the apartment for 9 months.
- Pay your rent promptly on the date stipulated in the lease.
- Keep the apartment in good condition.
- Obtain written consent of the landlord before making any changes to the apartment, such as painting or attaching shelves.
- Be considerate of your neighbors and do not make too much noise.
- Leave the apartment in its original condition.
- Supply the apartment with your own furniture and kitchenware.
- Provide heat in the apartment from October 15 to May 31.
- Provide hot and cold running water year round.
- Maintain public areas in and around the building.
- Repair your apartment.
- Paint your apartment every three years.
- Provide a bathtub or shower, toilet, and a kitchen sink inside of your apartment.
- Maintain a safe, weatherproof building that is free of rats, mice and bugs.
- Install smoke detectors.
- Furnish a locked mailbox with the tenant’s name on it.
- Install a peephole in your apartment door.
Signing a Lease
- Discuss and negotiate any problem areas in the lease before you sign it; be sure to sign your initials next to all changes that you or the landlord make to the lease.
- Make sure that you have a copy of the lease with both your signature and the landlord’s signature.
- Keep lease in a safe place.
- Know if the cost of utilities is included in your monthly rent.
- Make sure that all provisions in the lease are legal. Clauses which prohibit children or overnight guests are not legal; check with the tenants’ association or a lawyer if you have questions about your lease.
- Do not make verbal agreements. Only written agreements in a lease are legally acceptable.
- Do not sign the lease unless it is written in plain English, not in legal jargon.
- Do not sign the lease if there are blank spaces. Cross out all blank spaces before you sign so that no one can make any new changes.
- Do not feel pressured into signing the lease before you have had time to read it over slowly and carefully.
Information On Housing Laws
Metropolitan Council on Housing, Tenants’ Rights and Action
198 Broadway, New York, NY 10002; (212) 693-0550
Information and assistance on rent stabilization, housing regulations, etc., assistance with problems you may have with a landlord or real estate broker.
Department of Housing, Division of Code Enforcement (DCE)
39 Broadway, New York, NY 10006; (212) 960-4800
DCE receives complaints 24 hrs. a day regarding code violations such as no heat or hot water, apartments in disrepair, and faulty plumbing.
Comprehensive information on the housing market.
Information on New York City and New York State tenant issues.
The site of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal