Tenant-Landlord Issues

The resources on this site are offered to tenants and landlords in the hope of avoiding difficult rental housing situations. This information is intended to cover the basics of rental housing arrangements — if you have questions about your personal experiences or a unique situation, you can contact the Human Services Coalition by calling 2-1-1 or 877-211-8667 and requesting assistance from a Housing Specialist.

This Model Residential Lease (PDF, 211K) shows the type of language and issues covered in a rental agreement (from the NY State Consumer Protection Board, 2007).

The Ithaca City Code (Chapter 258) deals with rental housing (content posted by the Buildings Department on the City of Ithaca web site).

Changes to NY State Rent Laws is a16 page PDF on the NYS Attorney General's website that covers significant changes in laws affecting tenants resulting from the "Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019" including caps on security deposits, limites on late payment fees and fees for credit & background checks; removal of "tenant blacklists"; information on breaking a lease, your right to a receipt and to notices of past due rent; new protections in case of eviction, and more.

Complaints about the return of Rent Security Deposits can be filed with the NYS Office of the Attorney General if all attempts to resolve the dispute by the individuals involved have failed.

How to Make an Effective Complaint for Rental Issues

  • IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM. It is important to be very clear about the nature of the complaint. For example, security deposit, heat, or property maintenance.
  • ORGANIZE THE DETAILS. Be specific on when, where, and time that the problem occurred. If possible, take pictures of the problem.
  • KEEP A FILE of all your efforts to resolve the problem. It should include the names of the individuals you speak with, and the date, time, and outcome of the conversation.
  • CONTACT THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY. Call or write the owner and state the problem and ask for a time frame for the corrections to be made.
  • BE PERSISTENT. Call the owner back if the problem hasn't been taken care of in the time frame that was given.
  • IF THE OWNER HAS NOT RESPONDED, call the local Building Department or Code Enforcement Officer and make a formal complaint. The inspector will follow through with the complaint and if valid, will contact the owner to ensure all the necessary repairs are made.

In the City of Ithaca, the Building Department can be reached at 274-6508.
City of Ithaca Building Department
City Hall
108 East Green Street
Ithaca , NY 14850

Last updated July 31, 2023