DOS Guidance for New Rental Laws

Oct 22, 2019

The DOS has issued a guidance letter on how it will view the Housing Security and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (the new rental law) in relation to Licensees.  If you are a licensee working on behalf of a “landlord, lessor, sub-lessor or grantor” the new rental law applies to you!

Any violations by a licensee of the following restrictions contained in the new rental law can result in DOS discipline against the licensee:

Licensees cannot collect an application fee greater than $20 from a potential tenant and must waive any application fee if a potential tenant provides a copy of a background check or credit check conducted within the past thirty days.

Licensees must advise the landlord about the application fee restrictions stated above.  (As a side note: it would be a good idea for licensees to put this notice to the landlords in writing for proof that the landlord was advised).

Licensees cannot refuse to rent, or refuse to offer a lease, to a potential tenant on the basis that the potential tenant was involved in past or pending landlord-tenant actions.

Licensees cannot demand or charge a late payment fee unless the payment of rent has not been made within 5 days of the due date and such late payment fee cannot exceed $50, or five percent of the monthly rent, whichever is less.

Licensees holding a security deposit must comply with the section of the law that requires landlords within 14 days after a tenant vacates the premises to provide the tenant with an itemized statement indicating the basis for the amount being retained, if any, and must return any remaining portion of the deposit to the tenant within the 14 day period. If the landlord doesn’t comply with this, the licensee must return the full deposit to the tenant because the landlord would have forfeited the right to retain the deposit.

For a copy of the DOS guidance, please click here