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How NYC Landlords May be Skirting the New Rent Laws (NY)

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

How NYC Landlords May be Skirting the New Rent Laws

"It’s been over two months since the new package of laws protecting tenants were made official in New York state. The landmark bill, the Housing Stability And Tenant Protections Act of 2019, included several protections that activists had long advocated for under the fight for “universal rent control.”

But not everyone is clear on what the new rules mean; even the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the statewide agency that oversees rent-stabilized housing, recently told the New York Times it’s still working on a framework that will clarify the new regulations. Plus, landlords may be counting on tenants not to know their rights, or that new rent laws have even gone into effect.

“While the rent reforms were undoubtedly historic, we must remain vigilant,” says Aaron Carr, executive director at the Housing Rights Initiative.

Outlets have already reported on instances of landlords (and brokers, and property managers) flouting the new rules; here, we’ve gathered some of the tenant-landlord issues to look out for, and what you need to know if you’re confronted with any of these problems.

Charging more than $20 for a background and credit check fee

Section 238-a of the new laws says that “no landlord, lessor, sub-lessor or grantor” should charge processing or application fees unless it’s for a background check, and that should not exceed $20 dollars. The fee must be waived if an applicant provides their own background or credit check that was conducted within the past 30 days.

If the landlord does collect a fee to conduct a background check, they have to provide a copy of the report to the applicant, along with a receipt or invoice from the company that conducted the background or credit check..."

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