Does a landlord need to give notice when raising rent in NY
February 9, 2008 4:50 PM   Subscribe

In New York State, on an apartment rented on a month-to-month basis (no lease), is the landlord required to give a certain amount of notice when raising the rent?

This seems like it should be an easy question to find the answer to, but I'm finding it for all states except New York. I live in an apartment with two roommates. We have no lease, so we do the month-to-month thing. We've lived here for several years. We recently got a letter from the landlord stating that our rent would be going up by 10% starting this month. However, the letter was dated January 24th, and it wasn't postmarked until January 30th. By the time we received the letter, we'd already mailed her our rent check for February, which was of course for the old amount.

Figuring this wasn't nearly enough notice to give us for such a large rent increase, my roommate, who is pretty much the head of the household, decided not to pay the new amount until next month, though she never called the landlord about it. Today we got another letter from the landlord requesting the new amount for this month as our check did not reflect it. My roommate's going to call her on Monday. Before she does, I'd like to know if there's a law saying there needs to be some amount of notice given when raising the rent on an apartment in this situation.
posted by wondermouse to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Does this answer your question?
posted by herc at 5:17 PM on February 9, 2008

Specifically, "A landlord may raise the rent of a month-to-month tenant with the consent of the tenant. If the tenant does not consent, however, the landlord can terminate the tenancy by giving appropriate notice."

Also, could you argue that by cashing the check sent for Feb. (was it cashed?) the landlord accepted the terms of the lease, as least as to that month? This should delay the clock-ticking (somewhat) on the inevitable lease-termination your landlord will trigger in order to raise the rent in a method approved by law.
posted by herc at 5:20 PM on February 9, 2008

30 days is the norm/absolute minimum. 10% may or may not be legal in your area. Do you have a rent arbitration board? Contact them to see if you fall under rent control or any rent ordinances. She did not properly serve you the increase so she can't really expect her rent increase immediately. 30 days is the norm because it gives the tenant 30 days to find a new place if they don't agree to the increase.

Nolo Press is a publisher that puts out a lot of tenant rights/landlord rights books, you might want to go to their website and see if you can research more precise information there. Your landlord doesn't know what she is doing, but you aren't helping matters by just deciding not to pay/deal with it.
posted by 45moore45 at 5:20 PM on February 9, 2008

How is your relationship with the landlord? I would start by appealing to her sense of fairness before throwing the law at her. Just tell her when you received her letter and that the cheque had (of course) already been mailed. Don't start quoting the law until you're sure that all other means of resolving the issue have been exhausted.
posted by winston at 5:29 PM on February 9, 2008

herc, I did see that website before I posted this question. The confusion comes in where it says that we as tenants have the right to approve the rent increase, and if we don't approve it we can be evicted with 30 days notice. We do approve the rent increase, just not that we would pay it for the month falling two days after receipt of the letter. My question is if we have grounds to stand on if we don't think we should have to pay the increase until the March rental period.

The one roommate is the only one who is in communication with the landlord, as she's lived here for 7 years and I've only been here a little more than 2. I agree that not talking to the landlord isn't the best course of actions, but the roommate has a tendency to deal with things that way sometimes. When she does call the landlord she'll probably just try to reason with her, but it's something to consider if the landlord decides to go the legal route.
posted by wondermouse at 9:50 PM on February 9, 2008

In New York, if you are not rent-controlled or rent-stabilized, they can basically do whatever they want.
posted by Maias at 6:01 PM on February 10, 2008

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