eviction process

Eviction Process in NYC

In New York City, landlords hold the right to evict tenants for various reasons. However, it’s crucial for landlords to properly terminate a tenancy by providing adequate written notice to the tenant and adhering to state and city laws. 

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to landlords and tenants regarding the rules and procedures involved in evicting tenants in New York City, highlighting the necessary steps and legal aspects to consider.


NYC Eviction Overview

To evict a tenant in NYC, landlords must have a valid legal reason, known as an “eviction for cause.” Valid reasons for eviction include non-payment of rent, violation of lease terms, and causing a nuisance in the apartment. 

It is important to note that the eviction process may vary depending on the type of eviction proceeding initiated and the specific rules and regulations applicable to the premises. It is recommended that landlords consult with an attorney throughout the process to ensure compliance with the law and to receive guidance tailored to their specific situation. 

An attorney can provide valuable advice, assist with the necessary legal documentation, and represent landlords in court if required.


1. Ensure Valid Reason for Eviction

Landlords must have a valid legal reason to evict a tenant before their lease expires. This reason must fall under the category of “eviction for cause,” such as non-payment of rent, lease violations, or creating a disturbance in the apartment.


2. Follow Proper Eviction Procedures

Landlords must serve the tenant with a written notice of termination or termination notice to initiate the eviction process. The specific type of notice required depends on the reason for eviction and the applicable laws.


3. Avoid Self-Help Removal or Eviction

Landlords are prohibited from conducting self-help evictions in NYC. It is illegal for landlords to evict tenants on their own. Engaging in self-help measures can lead to severe fines. The eviction process can only proceed through a summary eviction proceeding, followed by the legal removal of tenants by the sheriff.


How to Evict a Tenant in NYC

To successfully evict a tenant in NYC, landlords must follow a step-by-step process.


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

If a tenant falls behind on rent payments, landlords can serve them with a fourteen-day notice to pay rent or quit. This notice provides the tenant with fourteen days to either pay the rent in full or vacate the premises. Failure to comply with the notice allows landlords to file a summary nonpayment proceeding with the court.


Serve the Tenant a Notice to Cure

If a tenant violates specific provisions of the lease agreement, landlords must serve them a notice to cure. This notice grants the tenant ten days to rectify the lease violation. The cure period cannot be less than ten days according to New York City housing law. If the tenant fails to address the violation within the cure period, landlords can proceed with a Notice of Termination.


Issue a Notice of Termination

After serving a Notice to Cure, if the tenant does not correct the lease violation or if the violation is incurable, landlords can serve them with a written notice of termination. The notice informs the tenant that their lease agreement has been terminated, effective on a specific date. The tenant is typically given a notice period of at least 7 days to vacate the premises.


Initiate Eviction Proceedings

If the tenant does not comply with the termination notice and fails to vacate the premises by the specified date, landlords can initiate summary holdover eviction proceedings. This involves filing a notice of petition and petition in the court where the property is located.


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

If a tenant has a month-to-month lease or rental agreement, landlords must provide the following notice period based on the duration of the tenant’s occupancy:

  • 30 days’ notice for occupancy under one year or with a previous lease of at least one year.
  • 60 days’ notice for occupancy between one to two years or leaseholders with one to two-year leases.
  • 90 days’ notice for occupancy over two years or leaseholders with leases of two years or more.

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

The duration of NYC evictions typically ranges from 3 to 6 months. However, the timeline can vary depending on the reason for eviction. 

Evicting a tenant for lease violations can be resolved within 3 months, while holdover cases may take up to a year, especially if notice requirements were not met.


NYC Eviction Defenses

Tenants in New York City have several defenses available to fight an eviction. Some common eviction defenses include.


Nonpayment Proceedings Eviction Defenses


Procedural Defenses: Tenants can raise defenses related to procedural mistakes made by the landlord during the summary nonpayment proceeding. If the court agrees, the case may be dismissed, and the landlord would need to restart the process with a new notice.

Rent Overcharge: Rent-regulated tenants can claim that they have been overcharged, stating that the landlord has been charging more than the legally regulated rent. These cases often require the assistance of an experienced NYC housing court attorney.

Warranty of Habitability: Tenants can argue that the landlord failed to maintain the rental unit according to applicable laws, such as allowing infestations or lack of essential services. In such cases, the court may order a rent abatement, reducing the rent payment until the issues are resolved.


Holdover Proceeding Eviction Defenses

Procedural Defenses: Tenants can challenge the summary holdover proceeding by highlighting procedural mistakes made by the landlord, such as improper notice or serving the wrong parties.

Additional Defenses: Tenants can deny the allegations in the termination notice and take the matter to trial. However, trials in NYC housing courts can be time-consuming and costly.

Warranty of Habitability: Warranty of habitability is generally not a valid defense in summary holdover proceedings, as the focus is on the landlord seeking possession of the apartment.


Can You Evict a Tenant Without Cause in New York?

In general, landlords in New York City cannot terminate a tenancy without a valid legal reason. If no valid reason for eviction exists, landlords must wait until the lease expires before asking the tenant to vacate. Landlords are required to provide tenants with a notice of non-renewal after the lease agreement ends, depending on the duration of the tenant’s occupancy.


Personal Property Left in the Unit

When a tenant moves out, they may leave personal property behind. While New York does not have specific laws regarding abandoned property, landlords should not immediately discard or dispose of the tenant’s belongings. 

Landlords must provide reasonable notice to the tenant about their abandoned property. If the tenant does not claim the property within a reasonable timeframe, landlords can sell or dispose of it.


Final Thoughts

Landlords must ensure compliance with all rules and procedures mandated by New York law when pursuing eviction proceedings. Strict commitment to these rules is crucial to prevent the dismissal of eviction cases and the incurring of additional legal fees. While New York City is known for its tenant-friendly environment eviction rules and procedures exist to safeguard the legality of evictions and provide tenants with adequate time to secure alternative housing arrangements.

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