Handling the Eviction Process for New York Landlords

Eviction is the required legal process for removing a tenant, and it can impair a landlord’s ability to maintain profitable occupancy of her rental properties. It is also a highly regulated procedure, and there are many specific requirements a landlord must meet before being able to legally evict a tenant.

Properly handling the eviction process is critical for any landlord. Obtaining rent or replacing a non-paying tenant is essential to maintain your profitability. The attorneys at Ezratty, Ezratty and Levine represent landlords throughout every step of the eviction process to ensure your eviction is completed in a timely and aggressive manner. We handle cases involving tenants large and small, so please contact our office for more information about how we assist landlords.

Information About the Eviction Process in New York

Each state has specific laws that regulate how a landlord can evict a tenant. In fact, each county varies as well. A landlord does not have the right to simply remove a tenant at any time, and instead must follow specific procedures and meet strict requirements to do so. In many instances, landlords believe that they can resort to self-help. That is not the case in New York, where it is only in very limited exceptions that landlords can avail themselves of self-help. We can guide you in this circumstance.

While landlords may have the right to refuse to renew leases, they must have cause for terminating leases early. The most common cause for eviction is the non-payment of rent, though it can also be based on other violations of the lease terms.

The landlord must provide written notice to the tenant. The type of notice required depends on the terms of the lease, relevant statutes, and the grounds for eviction:

i. If a tenant is not paying rent, the landlord must provide a three-day Notice to Pay or Quit. This notice is commonly called a rent demand, and must comply with New York statutory requirements and the lease. If the tenant neither pays rent nor vacates the rental premises, the landlord may file a summary eviction action with the court after the expiration of the payment demand.

ii. If the tenant has violated a term of the lease, the landlord must first provide a Notice to Cure. The notice informs the tenant of the specific violation and gives a period of time—often ten days—to cure the problem. If the tenant cures the violation within that time period, the landlord may take no further action against the tenant. If the violation continues, the landlord may then give the tenant Notice of Termination. This informs the tenant that the violation was uncorrected, the tenancy is being terminated by the landlord, and the tenant has a certain time period to vacate the leased premises. If the tenant does not move out by then, the landlord may then file a summary holdover action with the court.

iii. If a landlord wishes to evict a tenant from a rent-controlled or rent-stabilized building at the end of the lease term, the landlord must serve a Notice of Intent Not to Renew, stating the limited reasons that qualify. This is called a Golub Notice. When a holdover tenant is on a month-to-month lease, the landlord must serve a statutory 30-day Notice to Terminate before the start of the monthly period prior to the intended date of vacancy. Note that there are specific detailed requirements of content and service that must be adhered to for the notice to be valid.

If the landlord qualifies to file a holdover action after giving notice, it is important to have the right legal representation. Our legal team fully understands the eviction process in New York courts, we understand the different requirements between the counties, and we can handle your case properly to avoid any unnecessary delays and to aggressively ensure your rights are protected. The process and procedures are specifically spelled out by statute, so lease terms that fail to comply will result in dismissal of a matter and the loss of time and money.

At the hearing, the landlord and tenant will both appear before a housing judge to give their statements and present evidence related to the eviction. The parties may settle the case, go to trial, or one party may win by default if the other does not appear at the court date. You should always have a lawyer representing you who understands the procedural and evidentiary rules of the court, knows how to negotiate a favorable settlement whenever possible, and who can represent you at trial if needed in your case.

A tenant may have a valid defense that will prevent a judge from ordering the eviction. These defenses can include, but are not limited to:

i.   Improper service of the required notices.

ii.  Improper time allowed under the notices.

iii. Improper preparation of the Notice of Petition and Petition.

iv. Failure to allege sums due with specificity.

v.  Failure to properly allege rent stabilization status of the unit.

vi.  Landlord’s improper acceptance of rent in a Holdover Proceeding.

vii.  Failure to properly serve all necessary parties to the action.

viii. The landlord failed to maintain minimum legal standards of safety and habitability of the rental property (Breach of the Warranty of Habitability).

ix.   The landlord has discriminated—or is discriminating—against the tenant.

If the landlord wins the housing hearing (whether on the merits, or simply because the tenant did not appear at the hearing) she will be granted a Judgment of Possession and Warrant of Eviction. However, a landlord still does not have the legal right to remove the tenant. A sheriff, marshal, or other assigned law enforcement officer is the only person with the legal right to enforce this judgment.

A tenant can return to court and ask the judge for an additional opportunity to comply with the judgment, or challenge the entire eviction proceeding by filing an Order to Show Cause. The judge may schedule an Order to Show Cause hearing, at which both the landlord and tenant present the judge with arguments for and against allowing the tenant more time to comply, or for and against the validity of the eviction. You should always have highly qualified legal representation at every hearing to ensure the success of an eviction.

Contact a Highly Skilled New York Eviction Attorney for More Information

The eviction process in New York is highly regulated and procedural. Any mistake in the process will prevent an eviction from successful execution. The experienced eviction attorneys at Ezratty, Ezratty and Levine will ensure compliance with all legal requirements to make sure that your eviction is completed as quickly as possible. If you have a non-paying tenant or a tenant whom is in violation of another term of his lease, please contact our office today online or by calling our office at (516) 747-5566 to discuss your legal rights and options.