If you have proof that you mailed/sent the rent, and they are refusing same, you need only retain such proof, and put money for rent to the side (maybe in escrow?) so that when the landlord commences a lawsuit for nonpayment you have your proof that landlord rejected rent. Have you always mailed in rent this way? How did you pay rent before the landlord started rejecting it? These are all questions that should be discussed with your attorney. Good luck!
Follow the method for payment of rent outlined in your lease and document your efforts at paying rent in accordance therewith, as outlined by my learned colleague. If the lease is silent on this point, follow the past practice you have used where the landlord has accepted rent. It is an excellent suggestion to place your rent monies in escrow, or a segregated bank account, if your landlord refuses to accept payment.
Why would a landlord refuse to accept rent? That's the one thing landlords should be happy to accept. I can only surmise your landlord is trying to build a case for eviction based on your non-payment of rent. I strongly recommend you proceed immediately to an attorney for a consultation on your case.
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Dear Brooklyn Tenant:
Your lease should state the method for sending the rent to the landlord, and if some reason, the lease does not do so, then the law does not require the tenant to go the distance to force the landlord to receive the rent. For a courtroom purpose, tendering the rent in a manner that is not burdensome to the landlord (such as making the landlord sign for delivery) is often the best method.
You would need to prove that you paid the rent. Paying the rent is getting the rent check to the landlord. The law cannot force the landlord to cash the rent payment, but then the landlord will not succeed in suing for rent that the landlord chose not to deposit or to receive.
If you make a copy of the rent check, the envelope you are using to mail the rent (properly addressed with the proper postage) and mail the check enclosed in the envelope to the landlord by Regular First Class Mail (with a purchased Certificate of Mailing), then you would be using a method that would put the envelope into the landlord's mailbox, delivered by a USPS letter carrier, and the certificate of mailing is proof that you mailed the envelope. If for the landlord still finds a way to send the mail back to you, then you also have the proof that you mailed the envelope and paid the rent (do not open the envelope if it comes back to you)
A rent controlled tenant may file a harassment complaint at the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR) against the landlord for refusing to accept the rent, among other wrongful acts of the landlord.
And since this seems that it may be one aspect of a real big case affecting your tenancy, hiring an attorney may be a good move.
The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.