If you are a landlord in the state of New York, you are within your rights to evict your tenants for a number of reasons. Among them are non-payment of rent, or a violation of a lease or rental agreement.
Can Your Tenants Fight an Eviction?
These are the two most common events which can lead to a lawful eviction, but even then, there are many steps a landlord has to take before the seizure of a property can occur.
If you are attempting to evict a tenant, do they have legal recourse to resist? Any real estate attorney will tell you that it’s important to know your rights as a landlord if your tenants are attempting to fight an eviction.
What is the Eviction Process in New York?
Any landlord looking to evict a tenant in New York must first acquire a judgment from the court. This is typically filed with the district court or housing court where the rental property is located.
Once notice is served, the tenant must be given an opportunity to make the situation right, either by repaying missed rent or correcting a lease violation. If the tenant does not correct their offense or vacate the property in the allotted time period, eviction proceedings can move forward.
In the event of an eviction for non-payment of rent, a landlord is only required to give tenants a notice period of three days. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit or pay the missed rent in full within that time period, an eviction lawsuit can be filed.
There are a number ways your tenant can avoid eviction under these circumstances. The first and simplest option is to pay the rent in full within that three-day window. If this occurs, a landlord cannot legally remove a tenant.
If a tenant is withholding rent due to landlord negligence, eviction cannot occur. A landlord is legally obligated to properly maintain the residence, supplying necessary utilities such as running water, light, heat, and power. If these basic needs are not met, a tenant may be within their legal rights to withhold rent until necessary repairs have been made.
As a landlord, it is best to ensure that all tenant correspondence regarding repairs is properly documented and addressed in a timely manner to avoid this scenario.
Lease Violation Evictions
Evictions for a lease violation are more lenient. First, the landlord presents the tenant with an official violation notice and must give them 10 days to come into compliance. So, if a rental unit has a strict no pets policy and you find that a tenant has a dog, they have 10 days to relocate the animal. If the issue is corrected within that time, the landlord cannot proceed with an eviction.
If the tenant fails to correct their lease violation, the landlord will present them with a notice of termination, stating that the tenant has 30 days to vacate the premises. If that time period expires, and the tenant has not moved out, an eviction lawsuit can be filed.
During the initial violation within the 10-day period is the tenant’s only recourse to stop an eviction. If the violation has been corrected, you cannot move forward with the eviction process. Doing so gives your tenant the ability to fight back by proving to the court that the issue was fixed within the allotted time.
It is important to remember that any eviction action undertaken without a court order is illegal in the state of New York and can open you up to fierce legal ramifications. This can include any action that interferes with a tenant’s ability to access a rental unit, such as changing the locks, cutting utilities, or removing the tenant’s property without permission.
These are known as self-help evictions. Victims of a self-help eviction can actually sue their landlord and seek damages, so it is important to ensure that adequate legal cause is present before beginning the eviction process.
The state of New York gives struggling tenants opportunities to stave off eviction, but landlords are not powerless. If you are unsure as to whether or not adequate cause for eviction has been met, you should seek the representation of a skilled real estate lawyer, like Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.