Tenant Eviction in New York City

by ECL Writer
Tenant Law In DC

New York City is one of the most populous and diverse cities in the world, with a population of over 8 million people. With such a large population, the demand for housing is high, and finding affordable housing can be a challenge. However, for many tenants, the challenge doesn’t end with finding a place to live. Tenant eviction is a reality for many renters in New York City, and it can have serious consequences. Eviction can result in homelessness, financial instability, and even physical harm. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will explore the topic of tenant eviction in New York City, including the reasons why tenants are evicted, the legal process involved, and the impact that eviction can have on individuals and communities. We will also discuss some of the resources available to tenants facing eviction, and what steps can be taken to prevent eviction from happening in the first place. Whether you are a tenant in New York City, a landlord, or simply someone interested in understanding the housing crisis in the city, this article will provide valuable insights into an important issue affecting many New Yorkers.

Landlords in New York City have a wide range of grounds for evicting tenants. According to state and local legislation, the landlord must serve the tenant with sufficient written notice in order to properly terminate the tenancy and evict the tenant. The landlord may start a summary procedure in the county where the property is located if the tenant does not leave or surrender the premises on or before the termination date.

Which kind of termination notice the landlord must give depends on the reason the tenant is being evicted. In other words, depending on the type of eviction case started, different procedures and notices are needed. Another thing to keep in mind is that in NYC, different rules and regulations apply to evictions depending on whether the property is an interim multiple dwelling, a free-market unit, rent-stabilized, or rent-controlled.

Below, we will discuss a general overview of the rules landlords and tenants must follow when evicting tenants in New York. 

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.

Give the Tenant a Fourteen-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit

The landlord may issue a 14-day notice to pay rent or vacate if the tenant fails to do so when required. This notice will inform the renter that they have fourteen days to vacate the rented unit or pay the entire amount of rent due. At the conclusion of the fourteen-day period, the landlord may file an eviction action with the court if the tenant does not pay the rent or vacate the rented property.

Notice to Cure and Notice of Termination

The following notices must be delivered to the tenant by the landlord if the tenant is being evicted due to a breach of the lease agreement’s specified terms.

  • Notice to Cure: In the event that a tenant has broken a specific lease clause, a Notice to Cure is necessary. Ten days are allotted by this notification for the tenant to fix the lease violation. However, keep in mind that the landlord should modify the cure term if the lease agreement calls for more than a ten-day period. In any case, New York City housing law states that the cure period cannot be less than ten days. The landlord shouldn’t proceed with the eviction process if the tenant “cures” or fixes the problem during the cure period. Nonetheless, the landlord may give the renter a Notice of Termination if they fail to correct the breach.
  • Notice of Termination: After giving the renter a notice to cure and the tenant doesn’t take the advice, the landlord may give the tenant a notice of termination. The tenant will then get a notice of termination informing them that their lease has been terminated because they failed to fix the violation and that they have 30 days to vacate the premises. If the renter does not vacate the rented property, the landlord may file eviction papers in court to evict the tenant. (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 of Termination 

Landlords have the right to provide tenants formal notice of termination following the serving of a Notice to Cure and the tenant’s failure to remedy the lease breach (or if the behavior is incurable). The tenant will get a notice of termination informing them that their lease agreement has been terminated as of a specific date since they failed to remedy the alleged lease breach in the cure notice. According to New York City law, the renter must be given at least seven days’ notice before being asked to leave the property.

However, depending on the type of unit being reclaimed and the lease agreement, this period might vary and last up to 30 days (if any). In any case, if the tenant does not vacate the property on or before the termination date after receiving the required notice, the landlord may start summary holdover eviction proceedings against them by submitting a notice of petition and petition to the court where the property is located.

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.

Evicting a Tenant With a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement

If a landlord wants a tenant with a month-to-month lease or rental agreement to leave but does not have a good reason, the landlord must provide the renter the following notice: 30 days notice is required from tenants who have been there a year or have a lease that lasts at least that long. 60 days notice is required from both tenants and lessees with one- to two-year leases. 90 days notice is required for tenants who have been there for more than two years or who have long-term leases. (N.Y. Real Prop. §226-c).

Fixed-Term Lease

The landlord must wait until the end of the term before anticipating the tenant to move out if the tenancy is for a fixed duration, such as six months or a year, and the landlord does not have a reason to stop it early. The landlord can anticipate the tenant moving out of the rental unit after the term is through; the landlord does not have to give the tenant notice to relocate unless the conditions of the lease compel it (unless the tenant has indicated otherwise, such as by asking for a lease renewal).

How Long Does It Take To Evict a Tenant In NYC?

Most evictions in New York City take three to six months. The timing, however, may vary depending on the cause of the eviction. You have less than three months to remove the tenant if they have broken the terms of the lease. A lingering tenant can make the eviction process much more difficult, especially if they assert that you failed to provide them adequate notice. Due to the slow-moving nature of the courts in New York City, holdover cases might take up to a year to resolve. If this happens, you’ll need to repeat the eviction procedure.

Tenant Eviction Defenses In New York City

These are a few typical eviction defenses that tenants in New York City can employ to avoid being evicted.

Nonpayment Proceedings Eviction Defenses

  • Procedural defenses: Tenants may assert a number of defenses in a nonpayment proceeding. The tenant may claim that there were any procedural errors made by the landlord when the summary nonpayment procedure was started (e.g., the landlord only gave the tenant a 3-day rent demand instead of a 14-day rent demand to pay the rent). If the judge grants the request, the case will be dropped, and the landlord will have to reopen it by delivering a fresh 14-day rent demand.
  • Rent Overcharge: The renter may claim that they have been overcharged if they are rent-regulated. In other words, the tenant could claim that the rent the landlord has been charging them is higher than the lawful, regulated price for their flat. Due to the complexity of these matters, a highly skilled NYC housing court counsel is typically needed.
  • Warranty of Habitability: The tenant can claim that the landlord did not maintain the rental unit in accordance with the relevant laws. For instance, the building has long-term heat or hot water problems or the landlord has been complicit in a rat infestation. Practically speaking, the tenant is still normally responsible for paying the full rent. Instead, the court will often mandate a percentage-based rent reduction. A judge may mandate a 30% rent reduction. As a result, the tenant is responsible for paying 70% of the rent. For each month that the judge grants a rent abatement on a $1,000 monthly rent, the renter is required to pay $700. In addition, the landlord would be required by the court to make the necessary repairs before receiving any rent payments. The tenant would have to deposit the rent with the court, though. In this case, the court may move forward with the eviction if the tenant is still unable to pay the rent (without any abatement). Last but not least, tenants in New York have the option to settle their debts before being forcibly evicted at any time. This includes whether or whether the tenant is the subject of a warrant or judgment.

Holdover Proceeding Eviction Defenses

  • Procedural Defenses: Tenants have a number of defenses in holdover proceedings. A tenant could claim that the landlord started the summary holdover process in error due to procedural issues. If the judge grants the motion, the case will be dismissed, and the landlord will have to reopen it. There are other procedural defenses, such as wrong notice being made, incorrect service of the tenant, and failure to name or serve the appropriate persons.
  • Additional Defenses: The tenant may also contest the claims made in the termination notice in order to avoid a holdover proceeding. The tenant could go to court in this situation. Realistically speaking, unless a landlord is adamant about evicting a specific tenant, it might not be worth going to trial. In addition to taking a long time and frequently lasting several weeks, trials in the NYC housing court also cost a lot of money. Critical Note: Normally, a tenant’s primary defense in a lease expiration summary stay proceeding would be that they weren’t given adequate notice or that they were entitled to a renewed lease since the apartment was genuinely rent-regulated.
  • Warranty of Habitability: A guaranty of habitability is typically not an effective defense in summary holdover cases. This is due to the fact that a holdover proceeding is not about money but rather the landlord’s desire to take ownership of the flat.

Removal of the Tenant In NYC

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.

Personal Property Left in the Unit 

Occasionally, a renter who vacates an apartment will leave behind some of their personal belongings. There are no rules in New York that specify how landlords must handle a tenant’s abandoned property. The landlord shouldn’t, however, simply discard the tenant’s belongings the following day. If there is an unclaimed personal property on the property, the landlord must give the tenant reasonable notice. The landlord is typically free to sell or dispose of the property if the tenant hasn’t claimed it after a reasonable amount of time.

NYC Landlords should think about revising their conventional lease agreements to add a clause regarding property left behind after a tenant vacates. By doing this, it will be clear what happens to any property that the tenant leaves behind or abandons when they leave the unit.

Can You Evict a Tenant Without Cause in New York City?

In New York City, landlords are generally not allowed to evict tenants without cause. In other words, landlords must have a valid reason for wanting to evict a tenant, such as nonpayment of rent or violation of the lease agreement.

However, there are certain circumstances under which a landlord may be able to evict a tenant without cause. For example, if the tenant is living in a rent-regulated apartment and the lease has expired, the landlord may choose not to renew the lease and therefore require the tenant to vacate the premises. Additionally, in some cases, a landlord may be able to terminate a tenancy without cause if the lease agreement allows for it.

It is important to note that even in cases where a landlord is legally allowed to evict a tenant without cause, they must still follow proper legal procedures. This includes providing the tenant with proper notice and going through the eviction process in court if necessary.

It is also worth mentioning that New York City has some of the strongest tenant protections in the country. Tenants have certain rights, such as the right to a habitable living space and the right to challenge rent increases. If you are a tenant facing eviction, it is important to know your rights and seek legal advice if necessary.

How much does it cost to evict a tenant in NYC?

The cost of evicting a tenant in New York City can vary depending on several factors, such as whether the eviction is contested or uncontested, the complexity of the case, and whether legal representation is needed. Here are some of the costs to consider:

  1. Filing fees: The cost to file an eviction case in New York City varies depending on the county and the type of eviction. As of 2021, the filing fee for a nonpayment case in New York City ranges from $45 to $125.
  2. Process server fees: In order to deliver legal documents to the tenant, such as the notice of petition and petition, a process server is required. Process server fees can range from $50 to $150.
  3. Attorney fees: If the landlord chooses to hire an attorney to represent them in court, this can add significantly to the cost of the eviction. Attorney fees can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case and the attorney’s hourly rate.
  4. Lost rent: During the eviction process, the tenant may continue to live in the rental unit, but they may stop paying rent. This can result in lost income for the landlord, which can add up over time.

Overall, the cost of evicting a tenant in New York City can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. It is important for landlords to consider these costs and weigh them against the potential benefits of evicting a tenant.

Illegal Eviction Practices In New York City

Illegal eviction practices are unfortunately a common occurrence in New York City, where tenants are often vulnerable to landlord abuse and intimidation. These illegal practices include:

  • Lockouts: Landlords may change locks or deny tenants access to their rental units as a way to force them out without going through the legal eviction process.
  • Harassment: Landlords may use various tactics, such as threats, intimidation, and retaliation, to pressure tenants to leave their rental units.
  • Self-help evictions: Landlords may use self-help methods, such as removing tenants’ possessions or shutting off utilities, to force them out without going through the legal eviction process.
  • Retaliatory evictions: Landlords may try to evict tenants in retaliation for exercising their legal rights, such as reporting housing code violations or organizing with other tenants.

These illegal eviction practices are not only unethical, but they are also illegal under New York state law. Tenants who are subjected to these practices can take legal action against their landlords and seek compensation for damages.

If you are a tenant in New York City facing illegal eviction practices, it is important to seek legal advice and know your rights. Tenants in New York City have strong legal protections, including the right to a safe and habitable living space, the right to organize with other tenants, and the right to due process in eviction proceedings. Landlords who engage in illegal eviction practices can face serious legal consequences, including fines and other penalties.

What You Need To Know

While starting a summary eviction process, landlords must make sure they adhere to all the guidelines and requirements set forth by New York law. Alternatively, they run the danger of having their eviction case dismissed and incurring further legal costs. The eviction laws and processes are in place for a purpose, even though New York City is known for being relatively tenant-friendly. The regulations aid in ensuring that the eviction is lawful, that the tenant has enough time to find new housing, and, if at all feasible, that the elderly and underprivileged are not evicted.

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