Student Tenant Resources

Geneseo Student Tenant Resources and Helpful Information

Tenant Association Interest Application

New York State and Federal Laws:

Geneseo Laws and Policies:

  • SUNY Geneseo's Policies
    • The office of Student Conduct Community Standards may exercise jurisdiction over student conduct, even when the student is off-campus. View more information about laws and policies governing off-campus student behavior on the student conduct homepage.
  • Social Host Law
    • The village of Geneseo holds party hosts responsible if underage guests drink alcohol. 
      • First offense: $250 and/or up-to 15 days in jail.
      • Second and subsequent offenses: $500 and up to 15 days in jail plus successful completion of alcohol and other drug education programs. This is sometimes referred to as "failure to separate."
  • Other helpful local, state, and federal laws and regulations.

Tenant 101:


  • Landlords can only charge up to one month of rent for a security deposit or “advance payment.” This applies to all residential rentals, with a few exceptions, whether you have a lease or not. Your landlord may not charge you in advance for the last month’s rent if you are also paying a security deposit. The security deposit and disposition form must be returned to the tenant within 14 days of the lease-end. Landlords are only allowed to collect current monthly rent due.
  • Your landlord must return your security deposit within 14 days of you moving out.  If your landlord takes any money out of the security deposit for damages, they must provide an itemized “receipt” describing the damage and its cost. 
    • If your landlord doesn’t give you this receipt within 14 days of moving out, then they must return your entire security deposit, whether there is damage or not.  If you are planning to move out, you can ask your landlord to inspect the apartment (or rental home or another type of home rental) before you move. They must allow you to be present during the inspection. At that inspection, the landlord must tell you what needs to be fixed or cleaned. You can then take care of the problems yourself to prevent the landlord from keeping part or all of your security deposit.    
    • If your landlord deliberately breaks this law, you may be entitled to up to twice the security deposit amount.  A landlord must make reasonable efforts to re-rent an apartment before they can charge a former tenant who left before the end of the lease for the rent for the rest of the lease.  

Background Checks:

  • Before signing a lease, the most a landlord can charge is $20 for a credit and background check. The landlord has to give you a copy of the background/credit check and an invoice from the company that performed it. Otherwise, they can’t charge you for it. You can provide your own background and credit check to avoid any fees, as long as the background/credit check was done in the past 30 days.  

Breaking a Lease:

  • If you leave your apartment or another rental home before your lease ends, your landlord has to make a good-faith effort to fill the vacancy. If the landlord finds a new tenant, and the new tenant’s rent is equal or higher to your rent, your lease is considered terminated and you are no longer liable for the rent.

Service Animals & Emotional Support Animals

  • The New York State Attorney General’s Office put together a helpful brochure with key information for tenants with Service Animals. Students with service animals are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Students with ESAs (emotional support animals) are also protected under the ADA. 
  • In August 2020, Governor Cuomo signed legislation prohibiting housing providers from discriminating against a person who relies on an animal for assistance in alleviating symptoms or the effects of a disability. Housing providers must now provide a reasonable accommodation by permitting a support animal to live in a home that otherwise would have prohibited pets.
    • Examples of disabilities that can qualify for an ESA include:
      • Anxiety
      • Depression
      • Fears and Phobias
      • Panic Attacks
      • PTSD
      • Social Anxiety Discorder

Legal Resources: