The laws in New York make it easy for a renter to claim tenancy and difficult for a landlord to legally evict a tenant. If you have an active lease agreement, your landlord has ever accepted rent from you or you have lived in the apartment for thirty days or longer then the only way to make you leave your apartment is to evict you legally, by going through the special process described below.
If a landlord evicts you illegally then they can be arrested and charged with a Class A misdemeanor.
Reasons for eviction
Your landlord can evict you in New York if they can provide just cause. An eviction in New York can only occur without just cause if the rental agreement has come to an end and the tenant will not leave. Article 711 of property law in New York says that any of these situations are just cause:
- Staying in your rental after the term is over without signing a new lease and without the landlord’s permission - this is called holding over.
- Not paying the rent or not paying for any taxes that you agreed to pay for in your lease.
- If you filed for bankruptcy.
- If you are using the premises for illegal purposes.
- For removing a smoke or fire detector as long as: a) You live in a city with more than one million people b) you were warned about it, housing inspectors came and filed a report, and you still didn’t put it back in. They cannot evict you for this, though, if you have asked for the detector to be removed because it’s interfering with how you use your kitchen.
Initial notices and waiting periods
The legal eviction process involves a series of notices and court filings that all have to be executed at the right time and in the right way.
Notices to cure and quit
If you are being evicted because you aren’t paying your rent or breached your lease agreement in some other way then they must start by giving an opportunity to fix the problem. They’ll send you either a rent demand or a notice to cure. For a rent demand they, need to wait three days before serving you with a notice to quit. For any other reason they need to wait ten days.
After you've gotten the notice to cure you will get a notice to quit. If you are being evicted as part of a holdover summary eviction, meaning you have no lease, then your landlord will start by serving you with a notice to quit.
After serving you with a notice to quit your landlord will need to serve you with a petition and a notice of petition. The petition must include five things, as outlined in state law. It should:
- State their interest in the property
- State your interest and your relationship to them
- Describe the apartment and building
- Describe the situation that led them to petition
- State what they want the court to do
They may want a judgment for rent due, or for a period of occupancy during which no rent is due they may want the fair value of use and occupancy of the premises. The petition is directed at the court and the notice of petition is directed at you. Whatever they say that their demands are in the petition needs to be mirrored in the notice of petition.
How notices must be delivered
If your landlord doesn’t serve you formally and get proof of the service - called an affidavit of service - then it could bungle the whole proceeding and force them to start over.
The notice of petition and the petition have to be delivered personally to the tenant or someone “of suitable age and discretion” who lives in the rental. It can also be left in an obvious place, like taped to a door. In addition to this, it must also be mailed to you using registered or certified mail and first class mail. They must send the mail to the property that they are evicting you from.
If you’re getting evicted from a property where you don’t currently live and the landlord has your place of residence in writing - for example if you got permission to sublet while you lived somewhere else, and you let them know where you would be living - then they are also required to send you the petition to this address. If they have your work address, they’re also required to send it there.
In total, you can expect the eviction process in New York to take a minimum of eight days and a maximum of fifty five days:
Rent demand or notice cure: Wait three to ten days
Notice to quit: Wait thirty days
Petition: Wait three days to file petition with court
Petition filed with court: Wait five to twelve days before your court date Warrant of eviction issued by court: A landlord needs to have a city marshal or sheriff remove you or prevent you from entering your apartment once they've got a warrant
If you are a landlord, or acting as a landlord because you are the primary tenant, then you can evict a roommate or an unwanted subtenant.
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