5 Crucial Real Estate Laws and Regulations for Property Owners in New York City

By James Woods
Managing Partner

For property owners, navigating New York City’s intricate web of commercial real estate laws can be overwhelming. For this reason, it is crucial to consult with a law firm possessing extensive experience in all aspects of New York real estate law, with the aim of protecting your interests and ensuring compliance with the multitude of regulations at the federal, state, and municipal levels. New York City property owners should be aware of the following five critical areas of real estate law:

Real estate owners in New York City should be aware of these 5 areas of the law

Landlord and Tenant Laws

New York City has some of the most stringent landlord-tenant laws in the country. Security deposits, lease agreements, eviction procedures, rent control and stability, and habitability requirements are only a few of the issues covered by these regulations. Property owners should be aware of the requirements of several overarching regulations, such as the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, the Rent Stabilization Code, and the New York Administrative Code, which govern the relationships between landlords and tenants in NYC. By consulting with a lawyer, you may ensure that you are adhering to these guidelines and have a greater understanding of your rights and obligations.

New York Disclosure Laws

New York State requires property owners to give particular information about the location and state of the property to potential buyers or tenants. This category includes the disclosure of recognized environmental risks including asbestos, lead paint, or dangerous substances. Also, property owners are required to inform prospective tenants or buyers of the building’s energy efficiency under Local Laws 84 (Benchmarking) and 87 (Energy Audits and Retro-Commissioning) of the New York City Department of Buildings. Non-compliance with these disclosure regulations could lead to avoidable disputes, litigation, and penalties.

Zoning and Land Use Laws

The Department of City Planning (DCP) and neighborhood community boards are in charge of overseeing zoning and land use restrictions in New York City. These regulations specify how a property may be used, developed, or modified. It is vital for property owners and investors to have a firm grasp of zoning and land use regulations. Ensuring that your property’s intended use is in compliance with these rules is essential to avoid potential pitfalls, including fines, penalties, or even the possibility of being forced to close your business or modify your property. Woods Lonergan Real Estate Team has expensive experience in advising clients on all facets of New York City zoning, land use, and development. Our expertise includes special permits, variances, landmarks, air rights, as well as tax exemptions and incentives, ensuring comprehensive guidance and support for our clients.

New York Contract Laws

Legally enforceable contracts, including purchase agreements, leases, and financing papers, are a part of real estate transactions in New York City. These contracts are governed by the General Obligations Law and the Statute of Frauds, both of which necessitate that real estate contracts be articulated with precision and clarity. By seeking the guidance of an experienced real estate attorney, you can ensure that your contracts are legally binding and your interests are protected in case of any disagreements or legal action. At Woods Lonergan,  our clients rely on us for the trusted counsel we offer and our unique ability to translate our legal insights into innovative yet practical solutions on their behalf. Your contracts can be made legally binding and your interests can be safeguarded in the event of disagreements or legal action with the aid of an experienced real estate attorney.

New York Insurance Laws

In New York City, owners of commercial real estate are required to maintain insurance to protect against liabilities, hazards, and property damage. Property owners need to be aware of the specific insurance requirements set forth by the New York City Administrative Code as well as the New York State Insurance Law. As a commercial property owner in New York City, it is essential to consult with an attorney experienced in real estate insurance law to ensure that your property maintains the appropriate coverage. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the obligations and potential consequences related to insurance claims is crucial for safeguarding your real estate assets.


Owning real estate in New York City can be both a lucrative and difficult enterprise. To protect your interests and maintain compliance with the complex web of real estate rules and regulations, it’s essential to obtain counsel from knowledgeable real estate attorneys. Understanding important real estate law topics like landlord-tenant, disclosure, zoning, contract, and insurance regulations will help you manage your property more effectively and steer clear of pricey legal battles.

Woods Lonergan is available for a free 15-minute consultation if you are a property owner in New York and are dealing with any kind of real estate law issue. To reach us right away, please fill out our contact form or give us a call at 212-684-2500.

About the Author

James Woods, Managing Partner of Woods Lonergan, holds more than 25 years of experience in corporate, real estate, and business legal matters. His expertise in handling negotiations, litigation, jury trials, and all forms of alternative dispute resolution spans multiple areas, including corporate, real estate, and commercial litigation. James actively represents dozens of Cooperative and Condominium Boards and serves as counsel to many Corporate Boards. Prior to founding the firm, James proudly served as an Assistant District Attorney for Nassau County and handled both jury and bench trials. With experience that also covers sophisticated transactions and complex acquisitions, James also serves as counsel to several domestic companies in a range of industries and commercial arenas, including real estate, insurance, banking, transportation, and construction. If you have any questions about this article you can contact attorney James Woods through his biography page.

Disclaimer: The information in this article and blog post (“post”) is provided for informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law(s) in every jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Woods Lonergan PLLC or the individual author(s), nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. Nothing herein shall be construed to create an attorney-client relationship with Woods Lonergan PLLC. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s jurisdiction. This post is attorney advertising.
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