A guidebook to Rights & Responsibilities
The journey of living in your own place requires learning about the rights you have as a tenant or homeowner as well as the responsibilities that are attached to those rights. Whether you are currently living in your own place or planning to make a move in the future, educating yourself about your rights and responsibilities is an important step in the process. While many resources are available to support you in your journey, it can be difficult knowing where to look.
In A Guidebook to Rights & Responsibilities, we have pulled together online resources from across New York State in a variety of topics relating to tenant or homeowner rights and responsibilities. The goal of this project is to provide you with multiple resources in each topic area so that you can find the information you need in a format that works for you.
Additionally, we conducted the Living in Your Own Place interview series with people who are already living independently in different parts of New York State. They shared their lived experiences of the responsibilities they have in maintaining their apartments and following the terms of their leases. We hope these candid conversations can be a starting point for you in thinking about and preparing for your own place.
In the Guidebook, you will find resources categorized in the following modules:
Living in Your Own Place – This module provides links to resources in a variety of topic areas related to fair housing. You will find resources that review the rights you have under both federal and state fair housing laws as well as changes that occurred in 2019 with the passing of New York State’s Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act. You will also find resources that unpack your right to pursue reasonable accommodations or modifications where you live or your right to live with a support animal. Finally, take some time to listen to interviews from the Living in Your Own Place series to consider what responsibilities you will have as you start your own journey.
Leases and Rental Agreements – Resources in this module will cover the rights you have as a tenant in New York State so that you will know how to identify if a landlord or a housing policy is violating them. Many of these resources provide clarity on terms found in your lease or rental agreement as well as the legal requirements surrounding the security deposit process.
Homeownership – If you are considering homeownership as a future goal, the resources in this module provide an overview of your rights and responsibilities related to fair lending practices, buying a home, and maintaining your home. Check out the links on preparing to buy a home to consider if you are ready to take this step or review the information on home inspections for recommendations on this important part of the home buying process. You will also find resources on the role of housing counselors along with a search tool for identifying the housing counseling agencies in your area.
Budgeting – A key aspect of living in your own place is financial stability. Credit history, budgeting, saving, and knowing where to go in an emergency are all important aspects of building this stability. Whether you already live in your own place or are preparing to move, we recommend starting with the brief webinars by Melinda Burns in each topic area of this module. From there, use the additional links to access a variety of resources to support you in building long-term financial success.
Knowledge of your rights and responsibilities is a powerful tool for living successfully in your own place. Therefore, we hope the Guidebook can be an ongoing resource for you with each step that you take, and we wish you the best on your journey.