Under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (the “Act”), which amended the Real Property Law (the “RPL”) and the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (the “RPAPL”), what are some of the new noticing requirements for landlord-tenant matters?
1. Notice of Rent Increase or Non-Renewal of Residential Tenancy
§226-c of the RPL now requires a landlord to provide written notice to a tenant if the landlord intends to offer to renew a tenancy with a rent increase that is equal to or greater than 5% of the current monthly rent, or if the landlord does not intend to renew the tenancy. If the landlord does not provide this notice within the notice period (as set forth below), the tenancy will continue under the existing lease terms.
The notice period depends on the length of the tenant’s occupancy and the length of the lease. If the tenant has occupied the unit for less than one year and does not have a lease term of at least one year, the landlord must provide the tenant with at least 30 days’ notice. If the tenant has occupied the unit for more than one year but less than two years, or has a lease of at least one year but less than two years, the landlord must provide the tenant with at least 60 days’ notice. If the tenant has occupied the unit for more than two years or has a lease term of at least two years, the landlord must provide the tenant with at least 90 days’ notice.
2. Rent Receipts
§235-e of the RPL now imposes requirements upon landlords regarding rent receipts. When a landlord receives rent in the form of cash, or any method other than a personal check of the tenant, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written receipt containing: (1) the date, (2) the amount, (3) the identity of the premises and the period for which rent was paid, and (4) the signature and title of the person receiving the rent payment. If a tenant makes a rent payment with a personal check, the tenant may request a written receipt in writing, and the landlord must provide the receipt to the tenant (in which case the request will remain in effect for the duration of the tenancy, unless otherwise specified by the tenant). Landlords must maintain a record of all cash receipts for at least three years.
If a rent payment is personally transmitted to the landlord, the receipt must be issued to the tenant immediately. If a rent payment is transmitted indirectly to the landlord, the tenant must be provided with a receipt within 15 days of the landlord’s receipt of the rent payment.
3. Late Payment of Rent
§235-e of the RPL now imposes noticing requirements in the case of late payment of rent. If the landlord (or an agent of the landlord who is authorized to receive rent) does not receive a rent payment within five days of the due date specified in the lease, the landlord (or landlord’s agent) must send a written notice to the tenant “stating the failure to receive such rent payment” by certified mail. Failure to provide such notice “may be used as an affirmative defense by such lessee in an eviction proceeding based on the non-payment of rent.”
§238-A of the RPL now states that a landlord may not demand any fee for the late payment of rent unless the payment of rent has not been made within five days of the date it was due, and such fee may not exceed $50.00 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is less.
4. Rent Demands
The rent demand period was extended from three days to 14 days, pursuant to §711 of the RPAPL. If a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord must provide the tenant with 14 days’ written notice demanding rent or possession prior to commencing an eviction proceeding. Note that this notice requirement is separate from and in addition to the five day notice requirement for the late payment of rent set forth in RPL §235-e.
Several issues pertaining to the Act still remain unclear. We will continue to pose questions to the various New York State regulators and the New York State Legislature in order to obtain guidance. As we receive clarification regarding the Act, we will distribute this information to you. The above represents our current interpretation of the Act, and our interpretation remains subject to change. If you have questions about how the Act is applicable to your specific situation, you should obtain legal advice from your own attorney.
We would like to thank Sherwin Belkin of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman, LLP for his assistance with this Legal Line Question of the Week.