Google Your Tenant State Laws

Living in New York City is expensive and what you don’t know somebody can use against you. Be it landlord or primary tenant you’re subletting from, if you allow them to cut corners with your money they will. Personally I’ve lived in every situation imaginable: with my boyfriend (living expenses were so very low), on my own (pure bliss, except it’s true what they say bout people knowing you’re a woman alone), with roommates (this can be heaven of hell for obvious reasons), with friends (friendships can and have terminated due to this dynamic, be careful)…so I know a thing or two, about a thing or two. In addition to that I’ve been to housing court twice and won both times.

The first time was when a landlord falsely accused me of being behind in rent, by six months. In reality the formerly dangerous neighborhood became gentrified, so he wanted everybody out. Bed Stuy do or die, was transforming into Stuyvesant Heights. Purposely leaving mold to rot, with necessary repairs falling by the wayside. Ignoring court ordered repairs to make the apartment inhabitable, he craved that tripled rent. By the way you are allowed to withhold rent until repairs are made, but that money MUST be in your account when the court ask.

The second time I lived with two people in an insanely big, insanely cheap apartment in Mid-Wood. After spending my life in Manhattan I was on a Brooklyn kick, as it blossomed into the new art Bethlehem. The primary tenant only had to contribute a measly $65 to the rent. This moron couldn’t have screwed herself more, spending the rent money to live beyond her means. Telling the landlord that she’d moved and we remained as squatters. The property management tried to place her debt on us, didn’t bode well for either of them. I should have known Dani couldn’t be trusted, revealing a warrant for her arrest in Vegas. Identity theft. My sister vouched for her so I stayed.

People will play on your ignorance, even if they’re fraudulent. Each state has a different set of housing laws, NYC favors the tenant to prevent the homeless population from multiplying. Some basic info you should know:

First, Last, Security: It’s illegal for someone to ask for first, last and security. They can ask for two of the three, but not all three.

Security Deposits: Are given to secure you and whomever you’re paying rent to. It’s your money to use for unpaid bills, missing rent and repairs. Security deposits cannot exceed one months rent and must be kept in a separate bank account, bearing a minimum of 1% interest. The tenant is suppose to be given the name and information of the financial institution where their deposit is kept. There should be no commingling of funds, meaning that money should not be spent on personal items, or deposited into a personal account. Doing so can result in huge repercussions. Deposits should be given back no later than 14 days after vacating the premises, if it isn’t take them to small claims court.

Rent Stabilized: Apartments are different from rent controlled. It is mandatory that the landlord renews your lease, unless you breached the basic contract in some way. The rent is to be divided by how many people occupy the apartment, period. 3 rooms 5 people? The rent gets divided by 5. You can only charge an increase of $52 if the room is furnished. The courts may charge the violator three times the difference, which is what happened to Dani. She owed the building, then she owed my roommate times three. They also have their own court to expedite the process.

Eviction: Is only legal via court. The locks can’t be changed on you, your stuff cannot be thrown out, unless the grand marshal does so by court order. Squatting is allowed if you can prove you’ve lived there for thirty days, by receiving mail or some other means. If you’ve live there less than 30 days then you can be kicked the hell out. For example a roommate of mine moved her friend in without anyone’s permission. On day 8 the primary tenant kicked her out. Allowed.

Three months: Technically they can’t start the eviction process until you’re three months behind.

Receipts: Save em, without them you are nothing.

Google state tenant laws everywhere you live. Check for updates every 30 days, all this information is accessible online. The internet, my real estate license and experience has given me the full scope of my rights. Ignorance is not bliss. Photo: Spoiled NYC