Landlord & Tenant Rights

Landlord / Tenant Rights & Responsibilities

Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, we provide Landlord/Tenant Counseling to help you deal with issues related to security, eviction, habitability, rights, handicapped access, and more.

If you are a tenant involved in a dispute with your landlord, it is important that you document everything and communicate with your landlord in writing. For more information, please see our FAQs.

In addition to seeking help from a Long Island Housing Services counselor, you can learn about your rights by reading the New York State Attorney General’s Guide to Tenant Rights.

There are simple steps that you can take to avoid and report rental scams.

Websites that list housing availability

Information on Detecting and Reporting Rental Scams

Scammers have many creative ways to cheat you out of your money, and they seem to come up with new ideas every day. Victims of rental scams can find it difficult to get justice after they have been scammed; scammers often disappear (along with the victim’s money) once they have been found out. That’s why it is important for renters to be on guard against rental scams—and one of the best ways to do this is to be informed!

Types of Scams: 

  • Hijacked Ads. A hijacked ad is a real property listing that has been hijacked by the scammer and reposted on another site. For instance, a scammer finds a property for rent on a reputable rental website, then uses the photos and address to place a fake ad on Craigslist. Sometimes, scammers might even hack and use the email accounts of the real property owners.
  • Phantom Rentals. Other scammers might invent a listing for a place that isn’t for rent at all, or that doesn’t even exist. They might try to pressure you into moving quickly with advertisements of low rent and great amenities. They want to extract as much money from you as possible before you learn that it’s a scam.
  • Foreclosure Rental Scams. A new kind of rental scam that seems to be spreading, foreclosure rental scams can be especially insidious. A scammer will use an empty foreclosure home and will claim to be the owner or landlord renting the house. In some cases, the scammer might just be trying to get a first month’s rent and security deposit, which the victim pays before they realize they cannot live in the home. In other cases, the scammer might even break in and change the locks, allowing the victim to live in the house for months while paying rent to the scammer, only to be forced to vacate when the real owner comes along.

Signs of a Scam:

 It pays off to use extra caution when you’re searching for a rental. Look out for some signs you may be dealing with a scam:

  • Wiring money.Legitimate landlords do not ask renters to wire money to any account, especially an account located abroad.  Nor do they ask for money by Western Union, MoneyGram or other money transfer service. There is no good reason to wire money to pay upfront costs associated with renting a property. Wiring money is just like sending cash, and it’s nearly impossible to get your money back.
  • Rent offered below market. Scammers know that innocent renters will be less cautious if they are motivated to close quickly on a deal so they don’t lose out on something too good to be true.
  • They want a security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease.It’s always dangerous to send money to someone you’ve never met in person, or for an apartment you haven’t seen. If the landlord/agent says they can’t or won’t meet you in person, this is as excellent sign of a scam.
  • They say they’re out of the country. This is a popular excuse for why it’s impossible to meet in person, and why your money must be sent by wire transfer. They might say they have an assistant, friend, or agent working on their behalf. However, you should always avoid wiring money overseas to someone claiming to rent you an apartment.
  • A note about foreclosure rental scams: Foreclosure rental scams can be especially dangerous because they’re harder to spot. The scammer might show you the house in person and might not ask for any unusual payment methods. But there are ways you can be sure that you are not falling victim to a foreclosure rental scam.
    • Make sure you find out if the home is a foreclosure. You can easily verify who owns the property by checking with the right county office.
    • If the house is supposedly being rented by a property management company, you can check out the authenticity of the company.
    • Keep an eye out for landlords or property managers who do not want to have a rental contract, or who ask for deposits that are abnormally small. These can also be signs of a rental scam.

Filing complaints: