New York Eviction
Although many problems between tenants and landlords can be worked out through talking, there sometimes comes a point where legal action appears to be the only solution. In New York, disputes between tenants and landlords are resolved in Civil Court (known as Housing Court in NYC). Here, a landlord can bring two different types of cases against a tenant: either a nonpayment case or a holdover case. Likewise, a tenant can bring an illegal eviction proceeding against a landlord who didn't follow the proper procedures for eviction.
New York Landlord Demand for Rent (Nonpayment Cases)
A landlord must demand overdue rent before bringing a lawsuit for the rent and eviction. This demand may be done verbally or in writing unless a lease specifically requires it to be done in writing. Any such demand must be delivered three (3) days before a landlord can bring a nonpayment case.
New York Notice of Termination (Holdover Cases)
A holdover case is brought by a landlord who wishes to evict a tenant for any reason other than overdue rent. This includes eviction for violating lease terms, becoming a nuisance, remaining after the lease has expired, and most cases where a roommate is evicting another roommate who is not on the lease (different procedures apply in cases involving a rent controlled or rent stabilized tenant.) Due to the difficulty of holdover cases, you may wish to speak with a New York evictions attorney.
A landlord must deliver a notice of termination before bringing a holdover case for eviction. A Blumberg legal form (#B307) is used for this purpose. The form can be used for either a tenant or licensee.
For Tenants: A tenant is a person who pays rent. They must be given a 30-day notice to leave. The specifics regarding the notice vary depending on whether it is in or outside New York City. [N.Y. Real Prop. Law Section 232]
For Licensees: A licensee is a person who, with or without permission, is staying for free. They must be given a 10-day notice to leave. [N.Y. Real Prop. Acts Law § 713]
How do I Serve Notice?
A landlord cannot deliver the termination notice (or a notice of petition once a lawsuit is filed with the court) to the tenant directly. A friend or licensed process server must deliver the notice in a specific way. See the Landlord's Guide to New York City Housing Court for more.
In New York, evictions are handled in Civil Court. In New York City, the Housing Part of the Civil Court handles these disputes and is referred to as the Housing Court. The legal forms required for the eviction process can be obtained at stationary stores. Although the forms themselves may appear fairly straightforward, service requirements and court procedures can make the eviction process quite complex. As such, you may wish to consult or hire a New York attorney that specializes in evictions.
New York Rent Control and Rent Stabilized Housing
There are areas of New York that have enacted rent control or rent stabilization laws and ordinances that require more complicated eviction procedures. These laws can make evictions, particularly in holdover cases, very difficult. If you are a landlord in an area with these laws, make sure you understand how they affect your property and eviction rights before proceeding with or defending against a lawsuit.
Self-Help Eviction in New York
Landlords who effectively evict a tenant themselves without following proper eviction procedures run the risk of incurring civil penalties. A landlord who chooses to lock a tenant out of an apartment may be liable for triple the damages the tenant suffers as a result of the lockout. There may also be liability for wrongfully removing tenant possessions. It is not uncommon for a tenant to be able to get a court hearing the very next day after getting the papers for the illegal lockout proceeding.
Questions to Ask Your New York Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?