Know your NYC tenants' rights

Whether you are new to New York City or have lived here for years, finding housing is always a challenge. And finding a place to live is often only half the battle. Many renters have problems with their landlords and/or their buildings after they move in.

It can be extremely frustrating--or frightening--to be in this situation. If you know your rights as a renter, however, you will be able to make informed decisions about how to move forward. You can always discuss your tenants' rights issues with a lawyer if you need further information or legal counsel.

You may have more rights than you realize. Below is a summary of them.

Note: some of these rights are subject to the type of housing unit you occupy. Read more here to learn about the exceptions and which of them may apply to your specific circumstances.

As a tenant, you have the right to:

  • A safe, well-maintained living space free from mold, lead paint and pests
  • A safe, well-maintained living space with heat, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, at least minimal crime precautions, timely repairs and child window guards
  • Fair housing/no discrimination
  • Privacy
  • Having roommates or subletting
  • Protection against landlord harassment
  • Forming an association with your neighbors
  • Not being evicted without a hearing in housing court

If you are facing problems with any of these issues, you can speak with a tenants' rights attorney to learn more about your rights. Individuals who earn less than $44,000 per year typically qualify for free representation in housing court.

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