Helping Landlords Seek Unpaid Rent

One of the most common and costly problems landlords must deal with is tenants who do not pay their rent on time. New York law provides landlords with legal remedies to recover overdue rent payments, and it is important to find the most efficient and cost-effective solution for your particular circumstances. The experienced landlord tenant attorneys of the law firm of Ezratty, Ezratty and Levine have decades of experience in successfully managing landlord-tenant relationships. We will work with you to find the right solution for your tenancy.

Our lawyers are qualified to help landlords purchase properties that are already occupied and ensure that any nonpayment issues are disclosed prior to the sale and rectified quickly and efficiently once a sale is complete. In addition, we regularly assist parties seeking to purchase properties out of foreclosure where the former owners become tenants.

Correspondence with Tenants

In some cases—though rarely—tenants may respond to an official legal notice, such as a formal Rent Demand. The Rent Demand, which is required before an eviction case can be filed with the court, can serve dual purposes. Not only does the notice give the tenant a clear message about delinquent rent payments, but it also paves the way for eviction proceedings to start in the event that the tenant does not respond to the notice.

Evictions

When a tenant is not responding to lesser interventions—or when a tenant is chronically delinquent in making rent payments—a landlord’s best option may be to mitigate the damage and seek an eviction. In order to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent:

(1)  The landlord must have the tenant properly served with a Rent Demand.

(2)  If the tenant has not paid by the end of a certain period—either three or five business days, depending on the circumstances or the lease requirements—the landlord can file a Notice of Petition and Petition for Eviction with the housing court.

(3)  The landlord must have the tenant properly served with a Notice of Petition that advises the tenant of the time, date, and location of the housing court hearing.

(4)  Both parties must appear at the hearing (or else the absent party will lose by default or an Inquest will be conducted). At court, the parties will be sent to a resolution phase in which your attorney will attempt to negotiate a resolution. If this phase does not result in resolution, the parties will go to trial. (Tenants usually do not have the right to jury trials, but if the circumstances permit it, the tenant must make formal written demands for such and pay the required court fees.)

(5)  At the end of the trial, the judge will award one party a Judgment of Possession and Warrant to Evict. If the landlord is awarded the judgment, it will give a timeline in which the tenant may remit overdue rent payments before the judgment takes effect. This could be the tenant’s “one last chance” to pay the landlord and avoid eviction.

(6)  If the tenant does not pay in the specified time period, the judgment will automatically take effect.

(7)  The landlord must then present the warrant to a marshal, sheriff, or other law enforcement officer authorized to perform evictions. The officer will serve the tenant with a six-day or a 72-hour Notice of Eviction, depending on the county.

(8)  If the tenant has not left the premises in the required time period, the officer will remove the tenant from the premises after scheduling the eviction and after certain criteria have been met.

Civil Suits and Debt Collection Matters

Even after a tenant has been evicted, a landlord may be left with a sizeable balance of unpaid rent. This can be exacerbated by legal fees, damage to the property, and other legal damages—all of which can be the subject of a civil lawsuit against the tenant. Landlords should consult with an experienced civil litigator to determine whether such a lawsuit has suitable odds of recovery. Lawsuits are expensive and not all of them see a return on the investment of attorney’s fees and court expenses.

Your attorney can also seek a money judgment as part of your nonpayment and eviction proceedings. If the judge in landlord tenant court issued a money judgment as part of the order, it can be executed against the Respondent.

Protecting Landlord Rights

Ezratty, Ezratty and Levine has protected landlords from unpaid rent and delinquent tenants since 1992. We have the knowledge, experience, and skill to find the most efficient and cost-effective solutions for you and your tenants. Trust us to help you achieve the best return on investment in any nonpayment proceeding. Contact us today online  or by calling our office at (516) 747-5566.