As one of the world’s largest cities, New York is a complicated and expensive place to own a home, leading most residents of the city to rent their living space. Unfortunately, the fiercely competitive housing market often makes for unnecessarily combative relationships between landlords and tenants.
We all know the stereotype of the gruff, unhelpful landlord who is slow to fix maintenance issues and quick to call about rent that is late by a day or two. Sadly, while this does not represent all landlords fairly, it is far too familiar for many tenants throughout the city.
Some of this behavior falls into the category of “annoying and petty, but not technically illegal.” But when does a frustrating landlord cross the line into illegal retaliatory behavior? Knowing where some of these key legal boundaries lie can help you protect your rights wherever you live.
Complaining about a problem is not grounds for eviction or a rent hike
The first thing you must know about renting is that you have the right to request a reasonable remedy to a problem from your landlord. You should never face eviction or some other form of punishment simply because you object to some element of the space that breaks or does not function correctly.
Furthermore, if you communicate with your landlord about the issue and nothing is done to remedy it, you may usually withhold rent to pay for the fix. This is rarely the first course of action, but it can work as a way to motivate your landlord to uphold his or her end of your rental agreement.
Some landlords try to punish tenants for raising concerns about an issue by evicting them, or merely refusing to renew a lease, or raising rent. If you have already communicated about your issues clearly, then you should certainly consult with an experienced attorney to examine your circumstances and see how the law may work in your favor.
Protect your future with strong legal counsel
Getting into a conflict with a landlord can have serious effects on your quality of life, the safety of your living situation, and, in some circumstances, affect your ability to rent another property.
The strongest course of action when it comes to any real estate conflict in New York is consulting with an experienced attorney who understands the intricacies of our state and city-level laws. A strong legal team with years of collective experience can help ensure that your rights remain protected as you seek justice in your landlord-tenant relationship.