The eviction process in New York begins with a landlord issuing a tenant a formal notice. An eviction notice could serve two purposes. It may ask the tenant to remedy the situation (such as rent non-payment) or quit.
If the tenant corrects the situation, the landlord halts the eviction process. Otherwise, the landlord files an eviction lawsuit. A court hears and determines the case. The tenant has no option but to quit the rental property.
However, eviction proceedings do not end as smoothly as described above. Sometimes a landlord may hit a snag for failing to follow proper eviction procedures. This article expounds on the New York eviction process for landlords and tenants.
Reasons for Eviction in New York
A New York landlord may evict a tenant for various reasons, such as failure to pay rent, lease violation, illegal activity, and failure to renew a rental agreement. Here is a more detailed look at why a landlord could begin eviction proceedings against a tenant.
1. Late Rent Payments
A New York landlord may issue a written notice if a tenant delays paying rent by at least a day. The grace period varies based on the lease agreement. The following are the steps at this stage of the eviction process.
Step 1: Sending a Letter
Before serving a tenant notice, the landlord must send a demand letter via certified mail. It is sent five days after the rent falls due. The landlord uses the letter to inform the tenant that they have yet to receive the rent.
Step 2: Reply by the Tenant
The tenant may confirm that they are late on paying rent. But they do not have to reply to the letter. In that case, the landlord will issue a fourteen-day notice to begin the eviction proceedings.
If the tenant pays rent within fourteen days, the eviction proceedings will stop. Eviction laws in New York allow landlords to charge late fees for late payments with statewide five-day grace period. However, this could vary with the rental agreement.
Step 3: Eviction Lawsuit
The landlord may initiate an eviction lawsuit if the tenant hasn’t paid rent by the fourteenth day. A rent collection software could help avoid going all the way to a lawsuit.
2. Lease Violation
The rental agreement is binding on both the landlord and tenant. They must uphold its provisions for as long as they're in force. Each rental agreement has varied provisions based on the parties involved.
In New York City, a landlord must issue a 10-day paper notice when a tenant violates a lease agreement. If the tenant resolves the lease violations within the notice period, the eviction proceedings end there.
The following are the common lease violations that could make a landlord evict a tenant:
- Repeated public disturbances
- Damage to rental property
- Smoking where they shouldn’t smoke
- Keeping pets on pet-free properties
If the tenant doesn’t resolve the lease violations, the landlord must issue a 30-day notice of termination. Where tenants fail to resolve a lease violation within the notice period, they no longer have the luxury to do it. The only available option is to quit the rental property.
3. Failure to Renew an Expired Lease
According to New York law, a landlord may also evict a tenant without probable cause if the tenant doesn’t respect the rental agreement. Otherwise, there would be no reason for the landlord to terminate the tenancy early.
But if the landlord thinks it’s right to terminate the lease, they must issue a paper notice. The notice of termination depends on the type of tenancy. It is also based on how long the tenant has lived on the premises.
For a month-to-month lease, the termination notice provides a grace period based on the tenant’s length of stay on the property. The following are the different types of eviction notices:
- 30-day notices for one-year leases
- 60-day notices for two-year leases
- 90-day notices for leases lasting more than two years
For a fixed-term lease agreement, the landlord has no right to end the tenancy early. It doesn’t matter if it is a six-month or one-year lease. The landlord must give the tenant time equivalent to the rest of the tenancy before asking them to leave the rental property.
When the lease expires, the landlord may not give the tenant a written notice unless the rental agreement expressly requires it. New York City law also allows the tenant to ask for an extension of the lease.
New York Eviction Process
New York landlords must follow proper eviction procedures regardless of why they want to evict the tenant. The following are the steps landlords must take in the New York eviction process:
Step 1: Issue an Eviction Notice
Instead of a self-help eviction, a landlord must give a tenant a paper notice explaining the reasons for the eviction. Details of the eviction notice have been canvassed in greater detail above.
Step 2: Wait for the Tenant’s Reply
Through the notice, the landlord informs the tenant about the reasons for the eviction and the period within which the tenant can remedy the situation. For example, the tenant could pay rent if they defaulted. Where there is no remediation, the tenant must quit the rental property. Otherwise, the landlord will initiate eviction proceedings against them.
Step 3: Filing an Eviction Lawsuit
If the tenant doesn’t comply with the termination notice or fails to vacate the rental property, the landlord must file an eviction case. File the case in the part of New York City where you stay.
The average processing time for eviction lawsuits in New York is six weeks to six months. Also, the legal fees depend on the court. In New York State, you can file an eviction lawsuit online.
Step 4: Serve the Tenant
The landlord must serve the tenant with papers indicating details of the case, such as the court date. A landlord cannot serve the tenant in person. As such, they must appoint a person who meets the following qualifications:
- A professional process server
- An adult
- Not involved in the case
- Not served the landlord over five times in a year
According to the eviction laws in New York, a landlord may serve court papers through any of the following means:
In this case, an official from the court delivers a copy of the notice of eviction lawsuit to the tenant in person. It could be at the tenant’s home or place of work.
Where it is not possible to serve the tenant in person, the court official leaves the papers with anyone living with the tenant who is at least 18 years of age.
Where neither of the two ways above works, the server from the court posts the documents somewhere secure at the entrance of the rental unit. The court then sends another copy of the documents via certified mail.
Step 5: Appearing in Court for the Hearing
On the hearing date, the landlord and the tenant must appear in court to give their sides of the story. Court procedures in New York City require the landlord to carry copies of all the documents they filed to support their case. A critical document is the original notice.
The tenant can freely present their case during the court hearing. Some of the defenses that a tenant can use against the landlord include the following:
The law in New York City doesn’t allow self-help evictions, where the landlord forcibly removes a tenant from a rental unit. They cannot change locks or prevent the tenant from accessing the property. Instead, the landlord must obtain a court order.
Failure to Follow Laid-Down Eviction Procedures
Eviction laws in New York require landlords to file adequate written notice, among other procedures. Skipping any requirement could nullify the eviction process. The court would stop the eviction case and ask the landlord to file anew.
Tenant Pays Rent Fully
If the landlord and tenant had been involved in a rent non-payment proceeding, the court can stop the process if the tenant pays fully. In that case, the eviction proceedings must be halted.
Landlord Fails to Maintain the Rental Property
According to New York City law, the landlord must maintain rental units in habitable condition. They should supply the rental unit with all required utilities and make all the necessary repairs on time. Otherwise, the tenant can use that to argue and win an eviction case.
Landlord Discriminates Against the Tenant
According to the Federal Housing Act, a landlord cannot evict a tenant based on their race, gender, religion, family status, disability, or national origin. The tenant could easily win the case if the eviction were based on such discriminatory reasons.
Step 6: Removal of the Tenant from the Rental Unit
If the final court order is in the landlord’s favor, the tenant must voluntarily move out of the rental unit. If not, the landlord will seek a warrant of eviction. That will enable a law enforcement officer, such as the sheriff, to remove the tenant from the rental unit on behalf of the landlord.
Before enforcing the eviction, the sheriff must give the tenant a fourteen-day notice. Of course, the tenant is expected to quit the premises by the end of the two weeks. If the tenant doesn’t leave voluntarily, the sheriff will forcefully evict them.
How Can Landlord Insurance Help
The landlord-tenant relationship can be acrimonious, especially with a long-drawn eviction process. But even as landlords grapple with how to carry out the eviction process in New York, they also need to think about other perils they could face.
Such perils include damage to the rental property due to fire, water, hail, windstorms, lightning, riots, vandalism, and burglary. The best way to protect themselves against these perils is through landlord insurance.
Besides, landlord liability insurance provides protection in times when third parties or tenants get injured while in the rental unit. In that case, the landlord doesn’t have to pay the funds for compensation out of their pocket.
Steadily.com is the best platform for landlords to secure themselves by taking landlord insurance. The platform allows easy enrollment and compensation claims. If you’re looking for reliable landlord insurance, contact us today.