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Tenant Lawyer NYC – Protect Your Rights

tenant lawyer nyc
A tenant lawyer in NYC is an attorney who will specifically advocate for tenants’ rights. There are some lawyers who represent both landlords and tenants but some of these lawyers do not have full familiarity with tenants’ rights or may have a conflict of interest.

Tenant lawyers might have more experience defending landlords and are unfamiliar with laws that may benefit tenants. For this reason, it is always better to get an attorney who has full knowledge of tenants’ rights as his expertise.

The most common landlord-tenant cases are:

  • non-payment of rent (this is by far the most common one)
  • breach of terms of the lease
  • subleasing
  • failure to return security deposit
  • rent overcharge
  • early termination
  • duty to repair
  • Yellowstone injunctions
  • good guy clauses

A tenant lawyer in NYC protects tenants’ rights

Need more time to pay the rent

Some tenants need more time to pay the rent. A tenant lawyer in NYC would argue on behalf of the tenant that they should have that right.

Right to not be locked out

The landlord is prohibited from illegally locking out the tenant, even if the tenant fails to pay his rent. The landlord’s recourse in case of continuous unpaid rent is to file an eviction petition. Some defenses to an eviction petition are failure to observe the proper procedure in eviction (such as sending notices prior to filing the case), payment, landlord has not made repairs or services (heat, water, etc.) that make the apartment habitable, harassment, laches, refusal to accept rent, too much rent, or the amount of rent demanded is not the rent stated in the lease. A tenant lawyer in NYC can help the tenant get back into the property after they have been locked out.


A tenant in NYC has the right to live in “safe, well-maintained buildings that are free from pests, leaks, and hazardous conditions.” Examples of Class “C” immediately hazardous conditions are inadequate supply of heat and water, rodents, peeling lead paint, defective plumbing fixtures, defective plaster, and defective faucets, all of which need to be corrected within 24 hours from mailing of the notice of violation.


From October 1 to May 31, the heat must be provided at specific temperatures during the day and at night. Hot water, on the other hand, must be provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days per year. Landowners are fined for heat and hot water violations at $250 per day. If the landlord fails to correct these hazardous conditions, the tenant may do so at the expense of the landlord. A tenant lawyer in NYC can force the landlord through the court to heat the property in accordance with the laws.

Security Deposit

Prior to 2019, there was no limit to the amount of security deposit demanded by the landlord. Since the passage of the Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, New York landlords can only demand a security deposit equivalent to a maximum of one month’s rent. This amount should be returned to the tenant within 14 days after the tenant vacates the apartment, but may be used by the landlord for costs relating to nonpayment of rent, nonpayment of utility charges, and damage caused beyond the normal wear and tear of the apartment. Costs related to the ordinary wear and tear are shouldered by the landlord. A tenant lawyer in NYC can help a tenant recover the deposit.


Tenants are allowed to sublease for as long as they have a valid reason for subletting and get permission from their landlord. It is normal in NYC to have only one person’s name on the lease, but with several people living in it as sublessees. The sublease should last for a minimum of 30 days, and short-term rentals, such as AirBNBs, that are less than 30 days are strictly prohibited.


The tenant is allowed privacy in the comfort of his/her rented apartment, and the landlord is not allowed to enter the apartment at any time without notice, except in cases of emergency. The landlord may be allowed to enter the apartment with notice for the following reasons: (a) to provide necessary or agreed upon repairs or services; (b) in accordance with the lease; and (c) to show the apartment to prospective tenants or buyers.

Remedies in case of landlord’s duty to make repairs

The tenant can initially write the property owner or the superintendent to describe the problem in the apartment and request for the necessary repairs. Include in the letter a paragraph stating that failure to repair will result to a filing of the complaint. It is important to document all communications with the landlord or his agent. If the landlord still fails to respond, the tenant may file a case in the Housing Court.

A Yellowstone injunction is an injunction requested by a tenant lawyer in NYC for a commercial tenant to enjoin the landlord from evicting him for an alleged breach of lease. This injunction allows the commercial tenant to save the substantial investment he made on the leased premises. To get relief, the tenant must show that: (a) he holds a commercial lease; (b) the landlord provided the tenant with either a notice of default, notice to cure, or threat of termination; (c) the tenant filed a request for injunction before the lease expired; and (d) the tenant is prepared and has the ability to cure the alleged default.

A good-guy clause is a clause inserted in a commercial lease contract, normally for start-up companies, releasing the tenant from liability in case he does not complete the lease period. This incentivizes the company to vacate the premises early without costly landlord-tenant litigation, allowing the landlord to immediately find another tenant.

If you are a having problems with your landlord and you need assistance or representation of a tenant lawyer in NYC to ensure that your concerns are seriously considered, we, at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin, are here for you. We have offices in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at attorneyalbertgoodwin@gmail.com.