Your right to make a complaint to your landlord or housing authority
Tenants may complain about:
- violations of health and safety laws,
- issues with habitability or non-repair of the premises,
- violations of rights under a lease.
It is illegal for landlords in New York to retaliate against (punish) tenants who make a good faith complaint to them or to a government agency. The laws protect tenants from this kind of retaliation. (Exception: tenants living in owner-occupied dwellings with fewer than four units).
Protection from landlord retaliation (punishment or revenge)
The laws assume a landlord is retaliating against you if less than one year after you complain:
- Your landlord brings an eviction case against you. If you tell the court that you made a complaint within the past year, your landlord has to show that the eviction isn’t retaliatory. The eviction proceeding will be terminated (ended) if your landlord can't prove that the eviction is not retaliatory.
- The landlord makes big changes to your rental agreement. This includes:
- refusing to continue to rent to you;
- failing to renew a lease after your lease has expired;
- or offering a new lease with an unreasonable rent increase.
Last Reviewed: September 12, 2023