Written by Louis Fournier, CPM, President
There has been a fair amount of discussion both for and against the new Tenant legislation that was recently adopted by New York State. No question the legislation is intended to provide protection for tenants that find themselves at the mercy of a bad Landlord, but has it gone too far? It has put the “good” and “bad” Landlords in the same category. In the end, this may penalize some of the Tenants the legislation is intended to help.
The permitted criteria for rental applications has been watered down so much that many of the tools Landlords were able to use to screen Tenants are no longer allowed.
One of the most damaging changes to the legislation is the limit placed on providing and obtaining honest references for Tenants.
Landlords cannot deny an application based on the Tenant’s eviction history. This is not limited to evictions for not paying rent. If the Tenant has been evicted for any type of poor behavior, prospective Landlords may not use this information when reviewing applications.
The screening process is the most effective tool to create a safe and vibrant rental community. Eliminating some of the critical screening tools could result in Landlords establishing higher milestones for approval, such as credit and income to offset the elimination of credible Landlord references. This could actually limit some of the options for housing for Tenants that do not meet the stricter income and credit requirements.
CHANGES TO THE EVICTION PROCESS
The eviction process has also been revised to provide tenants with additional time to respond to evictions and presumably cure any default. In the past, tenants that have violated their lease could be given a three-day notice to cure the default whether it is monetary or related to other types of lease violations.
The new legislation extends the cure period to fourteen days. Additional extensions may be granted by the court which could extend the process further. When all other avenues to work with the tenant have been exhausted, most responsible Landlords use evictions as a last resort. The new legislation may cause Landlords to commence evictions sooner rather than negotiating an out-of-court settlement.
In addition to the significant changes to the legislation described above, further restrictions on security deposits, credit references, application fees and the ability to recoup attorney’s fees have been changed drastically.
IMPACT ON SUTTON
For us, the full impact of the new legislation for our property managers remains to be seen. We fully support and endorse providing safe and affordable housing in the community. However, there needs to be middle ground when establishing Landlord-Tenant legislation to avoid creating a system that limits Landlord’s ability to use common sense when addressing the way they are able to operate their business and maintain their apartment communities.
For further information on what changes have been adopted please see the link below.