Renting and dealing with landlords can feel like the wild west. It can be difficult to determine what landlords are saying and if it has legal validity. One question we often get is, “Do I have to give my landlord a key to my apartment?”
New York Multiple Dwelling Law 50-1 says that you can install your own lock but if you do, you have to give the landlord a copy of the key. There may also be a provision in your lease that requires that you give the landlord a key. There are also laws that require you to give your landlord access to your apartment to make repairs and to show the apartment to prospective new tenants.
Not giving up your key could cost you both your apartment and money
Not giving your landlord a key when they ask for one can end up costing you your apartment. It is also a good idea so that the landlord can gain quick access if there is an emergency such as a fire or a flood. If the landlord does need access due to an emergency (such as a fire or flood) and you had refused to give him a key, you may be liable for the damage.
Though you do have to give your landlord a copy of your key, don’t mistake that as permission for them to enter your home without warning (except in an emergency). You still have the right to feel safe in your home and free of harassment. If you feel that your landlord is abusing their power, don’t let it slide, contact a tenant attorney.