New York State Enacts Good Cause Eviction Law

Eligible market-rate renters can now challenge certain rent hikes.



Eligible market-rate renters can now challenge certain rent hikes.



For years, certain lawmakers and tenant groups have been advocating for a law that gives some rent-stabilization protections to tenants in market-rate or unregulated apartments. In July 2021, local lawmakers in Albany approved New York’s first “good cause” eviction law, a city ordinance affirming tenants’ right to renew their leases, defining what could lead to eviction, and protecting them against “unconscionable” rent hikes exceeding 5 percent. Within a few months, four more upstate New York cities followed suit.

At the time, landlords challenged the measures in court, arguing the local laws violated their state property rights. And in three separate rulings, the courts agreed. Now, however, a statewide good cause eviction law has been enacted which will dramatically impact the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in the state and in New York City by limiting evictions, requiring lease renewals, and capping rent increases for most market-rate apartments.

Effective immediately, this new law creates Section 213-2(a) of Article 6-A of NYS Real Property Law. The law applies to all new leases and renewal leases, unless exempted, in New York City and to any other villages, towns, or cities that choose to opt-in to the law. Under the new law, covered tenants now have a right to a lease renewal and the ability to challenge monthly rent increases beyond 10 percent or 5 percent plus the consumer price index, whichever is lower—but only if they’ve been paying rent and following the terms of their lease.

We’ll cover what qualifies as good cause for an eviction or nonrenewal, notification requirements, and the types of units that are exempt from the good cause eviction law.

Tenant Good Cause Protections

Under the Good Cause Law, unless an exemption applies, owners can’t remove a tenant from a residential unit unless there is good cause to do so. “Good cause” is defined as the following:

  • Nonpayment of rent, unless the tenant hasn’t paid because a rent increase is “unreasonable”;
  • Violation of a substantial obligation of the tenancy or breaching any of the landlord’s rules and regulations governing the apartment;
  • Nuisance;
  • Malicious or grossly negligent substantial damage to the premises or building;
  • Tenant conduct that interferes with the comfort and safety of the owner or other occupants;
  • Occupancy in violation of law where an order to vacate has been issued, unless the condition is created by the landlord, through neglect or otherwise;
  • Illegal use of the premises;
  • Unreasonable refusal of access for necessary repairs;
  • Owner occupancy of the tenant’s apartment as principal residence;
  • Demolition;
  • Withdrawal from the rental housing market; and
  • Failure to agree to reasonable changes to a lease at renewal, including reasonable increases in rent, so long as written notice of the changes to the lease were provided to the tenant a least 30 days, but no more than 90 days, prior to the expiration of the current lease.

In addition, the good cause eviction law requires an owner to obtain a court order to remove a tenant upon a showing of good cause, including removal by nonrenewal of a lease. And similar to tenant protections under the rent stabilization laws, a tenant can’t waive their right to the protections of the good cause eviction law, and any waiver agreement attempting to do so will be found void as against public policy.

Rent Increase Caps

The good cause eviction law’s requirement to provide renewal leases and to not exceed a reasonable rent increase are in effect now. A rent increase is presumed unreasonable if it’s above the inflation index or 10 percent, whichever is lower. In other words, tenants can force owners to justify rent increases above 10 percent or the rate of inflation plus 5 percent, whichever is lower.

Where a rent increase is found unreasonable, a tenant’s failure to pay the increase doesn’t constitute good cause for removal. However, the unreasonable increase presumption is rebuttable. This means when a court considers whether a rent increase is unreasonable, the court may consider all relevant facts such as the owner’s costs for fuel and other utilities, insurance, and maintenance, and increased property tax expenses. A court must also consider increases based on completed “significant repairs,” where such repairs were not due to a landlord’s failure to maintain.

Significant repairs are defined as “replacement or substantial modification of any structural, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical systems that requires a permit from a governmental agency, or abatement of hazardous materials, including lead paint, mold, or asbestos in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.” Cosmetic improvements alone, which include painting, decorating, or minor repairs, don’t qualify as significant repairs.

For New York City, the inflation index is defined as 5 percent plus the annual percentage change in the consumer price index for all urban consumers for all items as published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for New York-Newark-Jersey City for the most recent preceding calendar year. The law says the DHCR will publish this figure no later than Aug. 1 in any given year.

Recently, the DHCR has issued guidance publishing the CPI factor required to calculate rent increases under the good cause eviction law. The CPI factor effective May 1, 2024, is 3.82 percent. This means any rent increase for market-rate apartments at or below 8.82 percent will be deemed to be presumptively reasonable. Thus, the total permissible rent increase would be 8.82 percent because this figure of CPI+5 percent is less than 10 percent.

Notice Requirements

Starting in August 2024, regardless of whether the unit is subject to or exempted from the good cause eviction law, all initial leases and renewal leases, as well as any notices and petitions, for all apartments in New York City (and any other localities that opt-in) must include the “Good Cause Eviction Law Notice.” This notice notifies a tenant if he or she is covered by the good cause eviction law at every new lease and lease renewal, arrears notice, or petition.

We’ve provided a Model Notice: Notice to Tenant of Applicability or Inapplicability of the New York State Good Cause Eviction Law, below. The language of this notice is pulled directly from Section 231-c of the law. If the unit is exempted from the law, the notice must identify the applicable exemption.

Exempted Housing Accommodations

There are several exemptions that narrow the scope or applicability of the good cause eviction law. These exemptions include the following housing accommodations:

  • Units with a monthly rent that’s greater than 245 percent of the fair market rent (FMR). In its recent guidance, the DHCR has stated that in all counties of New York City, 245 percent of FMR is listed as above $5,846 for a studio; $6,005 for a one-bedroom; $6,742 for a two-bedroom; $8,413 for a three-bedroom; and $9,065 for a four-bedroom;
  • Units owned by small landlords. The law defines small landlords as those who own 10 units or fewer within New York State. If the landlord is an entity such as an LLC, then that landlord is a small landlord if each natural person with a direct or indirect ownership interest in the entity or any affiliated entity owns no more than 10 units;
  • Owner-occupied buildings that contain 10 units or fewer;
  • Rent-regulated units;
  • Units that are required to be affordable for certain income levels pursuant to statute, regulations, restrictive declarations, or regulatory agreements with a local, state, or federal government entity;
  • Units on or within a building that’s owned as a condominium or cooperative, or on or within a building that’s subject to an offering plan submitted to the office of the attorney general;
  • Buildings for which a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy or Permanent Certificate of Occupancy was issued after Jan. 1, 2009, for a period of 30 years following the issuance of the certificate.
  • Seasonal-use dwellings such as vacation rentals or off-campus student housing;
  • Units within hospitals;
  • Manufactured homes;
  • Hotel rooms and dormitories; and
  • Housing for use or within a religious facility or institution.