A Guide to New York State Commercial Landlord-Tenant Law

Why You Need a New York Commercial Landlord-Tenant Attorney

The New York State Commercial landlord-tenant laws were significantly impacted by the Statewide Housing Security and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (also called the 2019 Rent Laws). These laws affect tenants who hold over at the end of a lease term, or who do not pay their rent when it is due. Under the new law, a tenant who is withholding the rent must receive a 14-day notice (which differs from the former 3-day rule), and now has 10 days to answer the landlord’s non-payment petition (expanded from the prior 5-day rule).

Certified Letters from the Landlord Requesting Rent

The new rent laws state that a tenant has up to 5 days of the lease agreement rent due date to make payment to their landlord. Failure to do so will result in the landlord sending the tenant a certified letter announcing that the rent was not received before any proceedings to recover this rent can be initiated. This amount of time to file can apply to commercial, as well as residential tenants.

New Rent Law Applications

The new rent laws also now allow protracted adjustments for use and occupancy, where the order is issued the earlier determined date of the tenant’s second adjournment request, or 60 days after the first court appearance of the parties. The laws also limit the right to force a tenant’s payment of use and occupancy (building use) during a summary proceeding pending. Today, the court uses its discretion when deciding to issue a use and occupancy order per the landlord’s written motion on notice. The tenant would only pay use and occupancy fees per the issued order in that case.

Pro-Tenant Post-Judgment Relief Rights

It is noted that the laws also augment the pro-tenant post-judgment relief rights, by allowing the court to let tenants back into possession into the property any time before or after an eviction. Here the court vacates a warrant of eviction for good cause before an eviction or non-payment case, if the tenant gives the rent or deposits the rent any time before the warrant is executed (unless the landlord can show that the tenant withheld the rent in bad faith).

Tenant Pre-Eviction Notices

The time limit of a pre-eviction notice has increased from 72 hours to 14 days for this action, as served by a law enforcement officer (such as a sheriff or city marshal) to the tenant. This means that if a landlord has possession of the property per the court, following a trial on non-payment and warrant of eviction, the tenant now has two weeks to pay the rent owed, which will stop the eviction case and allow the tenant then stay in the building or rental property.

Tenants and Bankruptcy Actions

Tenants can go bankrupt. It is rare, but it can happen. If a tenant goes bankrupt and did not pay the rent due, it is unclear under the 2019 Rent Laws, whether the tenancy is considered terminated per a warrant of eviction, and whether the lease could be assigned in a bankruptcy proceeding (whether or not an execution on the warrant of eviction occurred). In the case of a holdover, the tenancy is canceled with service of a termination notice, per the lease conditional limitation clause.

The New York State commercial landlord laws and how they apply can seem like a maze, and if you are a landlord, you will want an expert to help you find your way through the puzzle. If you need help with commercial landlord-tenant law issues, call the office of Michael Mantell, Esq., where we have been caring for clients and their legal needs in the metropolitan New York City area for nearly 50 years. We service the commercial and residential real estate needs of landlords, tenants, and business owners in the NYC region, and offer affordable fees.

Call us now at (212) 750-3896 to schedule a consultation regarding your legal issues today.