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Stony Brook University Stony Brook University Student Affairs
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Tenants' Rights

Attorney General

Dear New Yorker:

The contract between a tenant and landlord, whether it is based on a written lease or a handshake*, is one of the most common and important deals that are made across our state. It defines how renters will enjoy their homes, how owners will maintain their property, it can affect a neighborhood’s stability.

That’s why it’s important that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities under the law. In New York State, there are several different laws governing this relationship, and they can be different depending upon the county or town you live in. This booklet explains many of the laws tenants need to know and provides resources for where you can find more information about landlord and tenant issues.

As Attorney General, it’s my job to make sure the rights of all New Yorkers are protected. Whether the issue involves civil rights or consumer affairs, healthcare or investment fraud — my office may be able to help. Please visit our website: or call our hotline: 800-771-7755 to learn more about how we can help.

Eric T. Schneiderman

Adapted from Tenants' Rights Guide (Office of the New York State Attorney General).

*Please Note: A lease should be a written document, signed by both the landlord and the tenant. Oral agreements (or handshakes) tend to result in misunderstandings and disagreements about their terms.

Click here to learn more about your rights as a tenant.

Review New York Attorney General's Tenants' Rights Guide for information about types of housing, leases, rent, lease succession or termination, habitability and repairs, safety, utility services, tenants' personal protections, finding an apartment, and additional resources.
See for more information and/or to report an incident.