New rent laws, part of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, were passed in the state of New York on June 14, 2019 that gives renters more rental protection and added stricter provisions on what landlords can charge. While these new laws will make the application, move-in and move-out processes easier and less costly for millions of renters, they have affected internationally inbound renters that lack credit and rental history in the United States.
The new laws include:
- Landlord-tenant dispute not basis for rejection: landlords can no longer hold any current or previous landlord-tenant disputes against applicants when evaluating their application.
- Limit on security deposits or upfront rent: landlords cannot charge a security deposit or prepaid rent of more than one month of rent. Previously they were able to charge up to three months of rent.
- Move-out inspections and return of security deposit: move-out inspections must occur “no earlier than two weeks and no later than one week before the end of the tenancy.” Landlords must provide an itemized statement of any repairs or damages to the rental unit that would affect the return of the security deposit and the tenant must have an opportunity to make the repairs before the end of their tenancy. Landlords now have just 14 days from the end of tenancy to return the security deposit and an itemized statement showing any deductions from the deposit.
- Increase in rental prices by the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB): effective on October 1, 2019, one-year leases can increase 1.5% and two-year leases can increase 2.5%.
The laws noted above will be advantageous for renters and provide them with protections and purchasing power that they did not have before. However, landlords feel they have no choice but to hold onto any power that they have left. They are requiring applicants to have good/established credit in the U.S. and have annual income 40-45 times the monthly rent. When an applicant does not meet this criteria, they can no longer simply pay a larger deposit like they were able to in the past. Instead, they will require a guarantor, which will need to show an income of 80-90 times the monthly rent and must reside in the United States. There are third party guarantor companies that can step-in in these instances, but it can be costly as it would involve the tenant paying a fee typically ranging from four to six weeks (sometimes more) of rent.
It’s important that renters are aware of these new laws as they could affect their ability to find housing in New York. People moving internationally need to be even more aware of how this will impact their search and it will be imperative for them to know all of their options. Companies that relocate employees to NY state should be prepared to share this information with their employees and be understanding when employees are experiencing challenges obtaining a permanent place to live. The use of Destination Service Providers (DSPs) can be advantageous in helping employees and renters alike understand these complex laws and provide guidance for navigating NY’s rental market.
Taken together, the new laws — on everything from evictions to security deposits to rent caps for residents of mobile homes — represent a significant power shift away from landlords and cement New York’s standing as a national leader of policies favorable to renters, of which there are 8.2 million statewide.