Roommates + Landlords

These are the top 10 ways a landlord will try to cheat you

By Virginia K. Smith  | January 27, 2016 - 2:59PM

While plenty of New York landlords are perfectly honest small businesspeople, it's a sad truth that there are also plenty of landlords who are, in fact, out to get you. More specifically, they're out to either charge you an illegally high rent, or kick you out of your apartment altogether so they can replace you with a higher-paying tenant.

And since most shady landlords operate on the assumption that renters have no idea what their legal rights are, ProPublica has put together a handy graphic explaining the 10 most common ways landlords cheat their tenants, and how to to handle them (click through for the larger version):

Many of these tricks involve lying about an apartment's rent-stabilization status, and charging more than is legally allowed. (For tips on getting your apartment's rent history and finding out if you're stabilized, we've got a guide here.) Landlords might also refuse to renew stabilized leases even though they're legally required to, or charge exorbitant security deposit fees. (In stabilized apartments, security can't be more than one month's rent.)

It's also common for landlords to tack their legal fees onto your rent, though this is only legitimate if it's been court-ordered. If it's not, not only do you not have to pay them, but the landlord can't take you to housing court over the issue, as ProPublica points out.

Landlords also sometimes pressure tenants to give up and move out by withholding heat or basic  upkeep (get tips on how to pressure them into repairs here). And if it's a buyout your building management is after, there are also a whole host of fraudulent claims they might make to try to talk you into leaving, as the New York Times reported earlier this fall. 

Read up here for rebuttals to some common harassment tactics, and remember: If your landlord is trying to convince you to leave or jack up your rent in a hurry, do you research (and brush up on your rights) before you agree to anything. 

And note to landlords: There are proper ways to buy out your tenant—start here


10 of the biggest New York real estate myths—debunked

Security deposit self-defense: how to get your money back

The insider's guide to rent-stabilized apartments: essential knowledge for New York renters

How I found my rent-stabilized apartments

How one UWS man got $876k from his landlord—and a dirt-cheap rental

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