Everything You Need To Know About NYC Eviction Law

by ECL Writer
Tenant Law In DC

New York City has some of the most progressive tenant protections in the country, including the NYC eviction law. This law outlines the legal process that landlords must follow to evict tenants from their rental properties. The law is designed to ensure that tenants are not unfairly or unlawfully evicted from their homes, while also providing landlords with a clear and effective process for removing tenants who have violated the terms of their lease or rental agreement. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will explore the details of the NYC eviction law, including its purpose, key provisions, and how it affects both landlords and tenants. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant in New York City, understanding the NYC eviction law is essential for protecting your rights and avoiding legal issues.

Overview Of NYC Eviction Law

The NYC eviction law, also known as the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, is a comprehensive set of regulations designed to protect tenants from wrongful evictions and ensure affordable housing options in New York City. The law came into effect on June 14, 2019, and has since been amended to further strengthen tenant protections.

The NYC eviction law applies to all residential properties, including single-family homes, apartments, and co-ops. It outlines a clear process for landlords to follow when evicting tenants for non-payment of rent or violating lease terms, and it also provides tenants with enhanced legal protections and more time to respond to eviction notices.

Under the NYC eviction law, landlords must follow specific procedures before evicting a tenant. For example, they must provide written notice of any rent increase, and they must offer a renewal lease to tenants at least 90 days before the current lease expires. If a tenant fails to pay rent or violates the terms of the lease, landlords must provide a written notice of termination, allowing tenants 14 days to pay the rent owed or remedy the violation.

Tenants who receive an eviction notice have the right to challenge it in court, and they may also be entitled to legal representation through the city’s Housing Court. Additionally, tenants may be eligible for a “right to counsel,” which provides them with free legal representation in housing court proceedings.

The NYC eviction law also includes provisions aimed at protecting tenants from landlord harassment and retaliation. For example, landlords are prohibited from threatening, harassing, or intimidating tenants who report violations of the law, such as unsafe living conditions or illegal evictions.

The NYC eviction law is a critical tool for protecting tenants’ rights and ensuring that landlords follow fair and legal eviction procedures. By providing clear guidelines and legal protections, the law helps to maintain stable, affordable housing options for New York City residents.

Types Of Evictions Allowed Under NYC Law

Under the NYC eviction law, landlords may evict tenants for a limited number of reasons. These reasons include:

  • Non-payment of rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord may begin eviction proceedings after providing a written notice of termination and allowing the tenant 14 days to pay the rent owed.
  • Lease violations: Landlords may evict tenants who violate the terms of their lease, such as by subletting the apartment without permission or causing damage to the property.
  • Holdover tenancy: If a tenant remains in a rental property after the expiration of their lease or rental agreement, a landlord may begin eviction proceedings after providing a written notice of termination and allowing the tenant at least 30 days to vacate the premises.
  • Owner occupancy: In some cases, landlords may seek to evict tenants to occupy the rental property themselves or allow a family member to do so. This requires a specific process and may not be done arbitrarily.
  • Demolition or renovation: If a landlord plans to demolish or substantially renovate a rental property, they may be able to evict tenants after obtaining the necessary permits and providing proper notice.

It is important to note that landlords must follow specific procedures and meet certain requirements when evicting tenants for any of these reasons. Additionally, tenants have the right to challenge an eviction in court and may be eligible for legal representation to help protect their rights. Overall, the NYC eviction law provides critical protections for tenants and helps ensure that landlords follow fair and legal eviction procedures.

Evicting A Tenant In NYC

If a landlord has a good reason to do so, they may dismiss a tenant before the lease expires; this is known as an eviction “with cause.” Rent arrears, breaking the terms of the lease, and creating or allowing a nuisance in the flat are just a few of the legal grounds a landlord may have to evict a tenant. The landlord must deliver a written notice of termination or termination notice to the tenant in order to evict the tenant for good reason. The grounds for the eviction and any relevant laws will decide the kind of termination notice required.

Notice for Termination With Cause

A landlord must have caused in order to end a tenancy early or force a tenant to vacate the property before the agreed-upon rental period has ended. Rent arrears and other lease or rental agreement violations are just two of the many grounds for evicting a tenant early. The landlord must provide the tenant with written notice before beginning the eviction process. The reason for the eviction will influence the kind of notice that is required.

  • Fourteen-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: The landlord has the right to give the tenant a 14-day notice to pay rent or vacate if they fail to pay the rent when it is due. The renter will be informed that the rented unit must be vacated within fourteen days of receiving this notice, or all outstanding rent must be paid. After fourteen days, the landlord may file an eviction action in court if the tenant does not pay the rent or vacate the rented property. (see N.Y. Real Prop. Acts § 711(2)).
  • Notice to Cure and Notice of Termination: If the landlord wants to evict the tenant because the tenant has violated the lease, the landlord must provide the tenant with two different types of notice.
    • Notice to Cure: The notice to cure is the first notice the landlord needs to give to the tenant who has violated the lease. This notice informs the tenant that the tenant has ten days to correct the lease violation. If the tenant fixes the problem, the landlord cannot take any further steps against the tenant. However, if the tenant does not correct the violation, the landlord can then give the tenant a notice of termination.
    • Notice of Termination: The landlord can give the tenant a notice of termination after the landlord has already given the tenant a notice to cure and the tenant has not complied with it. The notice of termination will then inform the tenant that the tenancy has been terminated because the tenant failed to correct the lease violation, and the tenant has 30 days to move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit, then the landlord can begin eviction proceedings against the tenant through the court system (see the New York Courts self-help center for holdover notices and the book New York City Landlords and Owners, page 8, published by the New York City housing court, for more information).

Notice for Termination Without Cause

A tenancy cannot be ended by a landlord without justification. The landlord shall wait until the conclusion of the lease or rental period before requesting or expecting the tenant to depart if there is no justification for an eviction case. Yet, the landlord might still be required to give the tenant notice.

  • Month-to-Month Rental Agreement: When a landlord wants to evict a tenant under a month-to-month lease or rental agreement but does not have a good reason, the landlord must provide the following notice to the tenant: 30 days notice is required from tenants with one-year leases or tenants who have been occupying the property for that length of time. 60 days notice is required from tenants and lessees with lease terms of one to two years. 90 days notice is required from tenants who have been there more than two years or whose leases are two years or longer.
  • Fixed-Term Lease: If a tenant has a lease that is for a set period of time, such as six months or a year, and the landlord has no reason to stop the tenancy early, the landlord must wait until the term has ended before anticipating the tenant would go. If the lease’s conditions do not require it, the landlord can anticipate the tenant moving out of the rental unit after the term is over. The landlord does not have to give the renter notice to vacate once it is over (unless the tenant has indicated otherwise, such as by asking for a lease renewal).

Grounds For Eviction In NYC

In New York City, there are a number of grounds for evicting a tenant, the most frequent of which are failing to pay rent or breaching the terms of the lease. A landlord needs a court order authorizing the eviction in order to properly evict a tenant. The tenant must get notice before the landlord can file the eviction complaint with the court.

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

A landlord must provide a tenant a fourteen-day notice or demand for rent before evicting them for not paying their rent. The tenant must be given a 14-day notice to pay the rent or vacate the rented unit. The landlord may start eviction procedures against the tenant if they do not pay the rent or vacate the rented property within the allotted 14 days. (N.Y. Real Prop. Acts § 711(2)).

Eviction for Lease Violations

Landlords are required to provide tenants with ten days’ notice of lease violations so that they have time to make repairs. The landlord is not required to initiate an eviction case if the tenant corrects the violation within the allotted 10 days. The landlord must then provide the renter with a notice of termination if the tenant does not correct the breach within the allotted 10 days. The tenant shall have at least 30 days to vacate the rental unit according to the notice of termination. The landlord may then file an eviction lawsuit with the court if the tenant has not left the rented unit by the conclusion of the 30-day period. See the New York Courts self-help center for holdover notices for more information about lease violations outside of New York City. For information on lease violations within New York City, see the book New York City Landlords and Owners, page 8, published by the New York City housing court.

Eviction Process

The landlord must submit a petition to either the district court or housing court of the county where the rental property is located in order to start the eviction process. A judge’s hearing will be scheduled by the court, and the tenant will be given notice of the time and date. Tenants must show up at the hearing if they want to contest the eviction. The court will hear from both the landlord and the tenant at the hearing before making a final judgment about the eviction.

A tenant can discover that contesting the eviction isn’t always the wisest course of action. If the tenant loses in court, the landlord may be required to pay the tenant’s court costs and legal fees. Also, the tenant can get a bad credit rating and be denied housing in the future. The best course of action for the renter may be to attempt to communicate with the landlord and reach an agreement outside of the legal system.

Many communities have free or low-cost mediation services that handle landlord-tenant disputes; local resources are available through the website mediate.com and the American Arbitration Association

Landlord Rights Under NYC Eviction Law

Under the NYC eviction law, landlords have certain rights when it comes to evicting tenants. Landlords have the right to:

  • Collect rent: Landlords have the right to collect rent from their tenants in a timely manner. If a tenant fails to pay rent, landlords have the right to take legal action to recover the unpaid rent.
  • Enforce lease terms: Landlords have the right to enforce the terms of the lease or rental agreement. If a tenant violates the lease terms, landlords may be able to evict the tenant.
  • Access the property: Landlords have the right to access the rental property for specific reasons, such as to make necessary repairs or to show the property to prospective tenants. However, landlords must provide proper notice before entering the property and must respect tenants’ privacy rights.
  • Evict tenants for specific reasons: As mentioned earlier, landlords may evict tenants for specific reasons, such as non-payment of rent or lease violations, as long as they follow the proper procedures and meet certain requirements.
  • Recover possession of the property: If a tenant fails to vacate the rental property after being legally evicted, landlords have the right to take legal action to recover possession of the property.

It is important to note that landlords must follow the proper procedures and meet certain requirements when evicting tenants. For example, landlords must provide written notice of any rent increase, and they must offer a renewal lease to tenants at least 90 days before the current lease expires. Additionally, landlords may not harass or retaliate against tenants who assert their legal rights, and they must respect tenants’ privacy rights when accessing the rental property.

Eviction Defenses In New York City

If a tenant is being evicted due to nonpayment of rent or a lease violation, there may be a defense available.

Landlord Evicts Tenant with “Self-Help” Actions

In New York, it is against the law for a landlord to evict a tenant without first getting a judge’s permission. The tenant’s access to and usage of the rental property cannot be interfered with by the landlord in any way, including by turning off the utilities or changing the locks on the doors. A “self-help” eviction is a common term used to describe this kind of conduct. The tenant may file a lawsuit against the landlord for damages if the landlord uses a “self-help” eviction to try to evict the tenant. (N.Y. Real Prop. Law § § 235 and 853).

Landlord Evicts Tenant for Not Paying Rent

In New York, a landlord is required to maintain a rental unit in a fit and habitable condition. This means the landlord must supply the rental unit with the necessary utilities, including running water and heat, and then make any necessary repairs as needed (see N.Y. Real Prop. Law § § 235 and 235-b).

If the landlord fails to make necessary repairs or supply necessary services to the rental unit, the tenant may have a few options:

  • The tenant may be able to withhold rent until the landlord makes the necessary repairs. The tenant should notify the landlord in writing of the repairs that are needed and give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs. If the landlord does not make the repairs, the tenant can withhold rent until the repairs are made.
  • The tenant may choose instead to make the necessary repairs and then deduct the cost of the repairs from the rent. Again, the tenant should notify the landlord in writing of the repairs that are needed and give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs. If the tenant chooses to make the repairs and then deduct the cost of the repairs from the rent, the tenant should keep a copy of all receipts and invoices and provide the landlord with copies of the same.

If the tenant chooses either of these options, the tenant should probably also talk to a lawyer to ensure that the tenant is following best practices.

If the landlord tries to evict the tenant after the tenant exercises one of these options, the tenant can defend against the lawsuit by showing that the landlord did not maintain the rental unit according to the law. 

Landlord Evicts Tenant for Violating the Lease Agreement

Before filing for eviction due to a breach of the lease, the landlord must provide the tenant a ten-day notice to cure. The landlord cannot evict the renter if the tenant fixes the lease violation within 10 days. The tenant may utilize evidence that the violation was corrected within the required time limit as a defense against the eviction if the landlord nevertheless goes ahead with the eviction.

Landlord Evicts the Tenant Based on Discrimination

According to the federal Fair Housing Act, landlords are prohibited from treating tenants unfairly on the basis of their race, religion, gender, national origin, or family status (including having children under the age of 18 or pregnant tenants). A landlord cannot discriminate against a tenant on the grounds of race, religion, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or membership in the armed forces, according to the New York State Human Rights Law. A tenant can use discrimination as a defense against the eviction if a landlord tries to evict them based on any of these factors.

Landlord Does Not Follow Proper Eviction Procedures

It is crucial that a landlord diligently adheres to all the legal requirements when evicting a tenant in New York. If not, the eviction could not be legal. For instance, before evicting a tenant for not paying rent, a landlord must give the renter a three-day notice. The tenant may claim a lack of notice as a defense to the eviction if the landlord does not provide any notice to the tenant but nevertheless files the eviction lawsuit. It would put an end to the eviction lawsuit, and the landlord would have to give the renter a three-day notice. The landlord may re-file an eviction lawsuit with the court if the tenant continues to be in arrears with the rent. Always keep in mind that this kind of defense only serves to postpone a valid eviction. The eviction will proceed normally after the landlord addresses the flawed process.

Tenant Paid Rent in Full

After a tenant fails to pay rent on time, a landlord is required to give the tenant a three-day notice that states that the landlord will begin an eviction lawsuit unless the tenant pays rent or moves out of the rental unit within three days. If the tenant pays rent during the three-day time period, the landlord should not proceed with the eviction (see N.Y. Real Prop. Acts § 711(2)). The tenant should ask for a time-stamped receipt when paying rent. This way, if the landlord proceeds with the eviction anyway, the tenant can use the receipt as proof that the rent was paid during the appropriate time period.

Removal of The Tenant

The attempt by a landlord to evict a tenant from a rented property is prohibited. Only when the landlord has won an eviction lawsuit is the tenant evicted? Even then, a sheriff is the only person legally able to evict a renter from a rental property. The landlord can discover that the tenant left behind personal goods after the tenant has vacated. New York does not have rules that dictate how a landlord should handle this property, in contrast to the majority of states. Nonetheless, the property should not be sold off right away by the landlord. Instead, the landlord must inform the renter about the abandoned property and provide a fair window of time for the tenant to retrieve it. The landlord may sell or otherwise dispose of the property if the renter does not claim it within a reasonable amount of time.

Effects Of COVID-19 On Eviction Law In NYC

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the eviction law in NYC. In response to the pandemic, the state and city of New York implemented a series of measures aimed at protecting tenants from eviction during this challenging time.

One of the most notable measures was the eviction moratorium, which temporarily halted most eviction proceedings in the state. Under the moratorium, landlords were prohibited from initiating new eviction proceedings, and ongoing eviction proceedings were suspended. The moratorium was extended multiple times and was eventually lifted on August 31, 2021.

In addition to the eviction moratorium, the state and city also implemented a series of measures aimed at providing rent relief to tenants who were struggling to pay their rent due to the pandemic. For example, the state established a rent relief program that provided up to 12 months of rental arrears and up to three months of future rent to eligible tenants.

The COVID-19 pandemic also had an impact on the court system in NYC. Due to social distancing requirements and other safety measures, many court proceedings were delayed or held virtually. This meant that some eviction cases may have taken longer to resolve than usual, and tenants may have faced challenges in accessing legal representation.

Resources For Tenants Facing Eviction In NYC

Here are some resources for tenants facing eviction in NYC, along with links to their websites:

  1. Legal Aid Society: The Legal Aid Society is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income New Yorkers. They offer legal assistance to tenants facing eviction, including representation in court. You can find more information on their website: https://www.legalaidnyc.org/get-help/housing/eviction-prevention/
  2. NYC Tenant Support Unit: The NYC Tenant Support Unit is a city-run program that provides legal assistance to tenants facing eviction. They offer legal representation in court and can also help tenants negotiate with their landlords to avoid eviction. You can learn more on their website: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/renters/tenant-support.page
  3. Housing Court Answers: Housing Court Answers is a non-profit organization that provides information and assistance to tenants and landlords involved in housing court proceedings. They offer a hotline and walk-in clinic, as well as online resources. You can find more information on their website: https://housingcourtanswers.org/
  4. Tenants’ Rights Hotline: The Tenants’ Rights Hotline is a service provided by the Metropolitan Council on Housing, a tenants’ rights organization. They offer free legal information and referrals to tenants facing eviction. You can learn more on their website: https://www.metcouncilonhousing.org/program-services/tenants-rights-hotline/
  5. Eviction Free NYC: Eviction Free NYC is a coalition of tenants’ rights organizations that provides information and resources to tenants facing eviction. They offer a hotline and online resources, as well as referrals to legal services. You can find more information on their website: https://www.evictionfreenyc.org/

These resources can be valuable tools for tenants facing eviction in NYC, helping them understand their rights and access the legal assistance and support they need to protect their homes.

Resources For Landlords Seeking Eviction In NYC

Sure! Here are some resources for landlords seeking eviction in NYC, along with links to their websites:

  1. NYC Housing Court: The NYC Housing Court is the court where most eviction cases are filed. Landlords can file a petition for eviction in Housing Court and go through the legal process of eviction. You can find more information on their website: https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/housing/
  2. Department of Buildings (DOB): The DOB is responsible for enforcing the City’s building codes and regulations, including those related to occupancy and habitability. Landlords can file a complaint with the DOB if a tenant is violating the building code or regulations. You can learn more on their website: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/index.page
  3. NYC Sheriff’s Office: The NYC Sheriff’s Office is responsible for enforcing court orders, including evictions. Landlords can work with the Sheriff’s Office to schedule and carry out an eviction. You can find more information on their website: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doi/offices/sheriff.page
  4. NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD): The HPD is responsible for enforcing the City’s housing code and regulations, including those related to the condition of the building and the maintenance of essential services. Landlords can file a complaint with the HPD if a tenant is violating the housing code or regulations. You can learn more on their website: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/index.page

It’s important for landlords to understand their rights and responsibilities under NYC eviction law, and to seek legal assistance if they have questions or concerns. These resources can provide helpful information and guidance for landlords seeking eviction in NYC.

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