How to Evict a Tenant in New York
Being a landlord in New York is not an easy task, especially when faced with tenants who refuse to pay rent or won't leave. Many landlords don’t know how they can deal with this kind of situation. This article will introduce the legal measures landlords can take to evict such rogue tenants.
First and foremost, landlords must be aware not to engage in the following actions:
1.Do not argue with tenants.
2.Avoid any physical contact or confrontation with tenants.
3.Do not enter the tenant's room without permission.
4.Do not move the tenant's belongings.
5.Do not change the locks without authorization.
"It's important to remember that the courts in New York tend to favor tenants, so you must be careful to comply with all laws and regulations.
One method to evict tenants is to file a lawsuit. If you want to sue a tenant, you must ensure that you have a legitimate reason to evict them:
Severe damage to the property
Seriously jeopardizing the safety of the landlord or other tenants or residents in the same building or adjacent buildings
Engaging in illegal or immoral activities within the property
Violating the landlord's rules regarding keeping pets
Refusing the landlord access for repairs or inspections of the property."
At the same time, you must ensure that you have fulfilled the landlord's responsibilities: maintaining the cleanliness of the property, ensuring there are no pests, garbage, or anything that poses a threat to life or health. For properties with three or more rental units, it is essential to ensure that the carpets in common areas are cleaned at least once a year.
After deciding to sue, you need to hire a professional legal document server, or a friend aged 18 or above (this friend should not serve more than five legal documents for you within a year). The legal documents must be served in one of the following three ways
Conspicuous Service, which means If no one is at home, the person delivering the documents can affix them to the door or slide them under the door. However, before using this method, the deliverer must have already attempted to deliver the documents earlier that day at the time when the resident is most likely to be present.
It should be noted that regardless of the method used, the person sending the documents must send photocopies of the documents to the tenant by the next day. Moreover, documents can only be delivered between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and they cannot be delivered on Sundays or religious holidays.
For tenants who do not pay the rent, you should first send a rent collection notice, informing the tenant that they need to pay the rent. The rent collection notice should clearly inform the tenant how many months they are in arrears, how much rent is due each month, and the total amount of rent owed. Only if the tenant still does not pay can you proceed with eviction. Furthermore, you must wait at least 14 days after sending the rent collection notice before starting the eviction process. If the tenant pays the rent within those 14 days, you cannot proceed with legal eviction actions.
If the reason for eviction does not involve rent, then a separate notice should be issued. The specific action also depends on the situation. If the tenant has violated the lease agreement, you need to send a notice called "Notice to Cure" to the tenant, informing them of which provision of the lease they have violated, and demanding correction within 10 days.
If the tenant does not correct the mistake within the time specified in the first notice, you need to issue a second notice called the "Notice of Termination," with the purpose of terminating the lease. In this notice, you must specify the reason for terminating the lease and the final date by which the tenant must vacate. It should also indicate that legal action will be taken if they fail to move out by the deadline. Moreover, you must give the tenant thirty days to move out.
If it's a notice to evict someone who has moved in without permission, then this notice is called an "illegal occupant" notice. This notice must clearly inform the occupants that they are not listed on the lease and have moved in without your consent. As a result, they must vacate within 10 days. If the occupants do not move out within the specified 10 days, you can initiate a legal action called a "holdover case" to evict them.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, you should do so at the housing court in the locality where the property is situated. If your property is within New York City, you can find the court address and contact information on the website: www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/housing.
Furthermore, you need to fill out three forms: "Notice of Petition," "Petition to Recover Possession of Real Property," and "Affidavit of Service." Both the "Petition to Recover Possession of Real Property" and the "Affidavit of Service" must be notarized, while the "Notice of Petition" does not need to be notarized.
After completing the forms, you need to submit the documents to the court. Once the documents are submitted, the court will provide you with a case file number. You need to send copies of the litigation documents you just submitted to the tenant. The court date will be set for a day no less than five days and no more than twelve days after the tenant receives the documents.
Next is the court appearance. You need to find witnesses to attend the trial with you. These individuals must be able to testify to the tenant's breach of the lease, such as property damage. The legal documents you bring to court should include proof of sent notices, the lease agreement, any evidence supporting your eviction claim, and any proof of monetary losses.
You should arrive at the court at least 45 minutes early and look for your case on a list called the "docket." If the judge rules against you, you can appeal. You have 30 days to prepare, and you'll need to obtain a court trial record. The 30-day appeal period starts from the day the judgment notice is sent, and the appellant must send copies of the judgment notice and the judgment to the losing party."
If you win, you'll need to apply for an eviction order. The eviction order is obtained from the court and requires the judge's signature. Afterward, you'll need to find the appropriate law enforcement officer to execute the eviction order. The court clerk will inform you on how to contact the law enforcement officer. Once the officer receives the eviction order, they will deliver it to the tenant. If the eviction order is delivered in person, the law enforcement officer will evict the tenant on the fourth working day after the delivery of the order, or on any subsequent working day without further notice. If the eviction order is delivered in another manner, the officer will evict the tenant on the sixth working day after the delivery or any subsequent working day.
If the tenant leaves their belongings on the property, you need to store these items. New York law does not specify how long you must retain them, but it's generally more than thirty days. After thirty days, the belongings left by the tenant are legally considered abandoned property and will be sold. The proceeds from the sale can be used to offset the rent owed by the tenant.