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By Shannon Martin
Updated on Jun 27, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
In New York City, the landlord can legally evict a tenant after a Judge rules against them in Housing Court. However, only a marshal or sheriff can evict a tenant from a property—the landlord is not allowed to change the locks beforehand. Tenant law in the big city can be confusing; knowing your rights is essential if you are a renter in New York City.
New York City was an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone did what they could and what they needed to do, to help friends, family members, and neighbors. But, with eviction moratoriums previously in place, more tenants are behind on their rent than ever before—and landlords are desperate to rectify the situation.
Now that the moratorium has lifted, everyone is wondering where they stand and what to do. So let Jerry help you sort through some of the mess! Not just a super app for car insurance or renters insurance, Jerry has gathered the most helpful tenant law information for New York City so you can understand what may happen if you find yourself facing eviction.
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New York eviction 101: the ways you can be evicted
The eviction process in New York City is different for each type of dwelling. Therefore, your rental can fall into one of these categories:
- Free Market: Rental property that is not controlled by additional regulations
- Rent-Stabilized: Applied to dwellings of six or more units built before 1974. The Rent Guidelines Board mandated that the landlords of these units can only increase rent by a certain percentage each year and between each tenant. The Rent Guidelines Board determines this amount
- Interim Multiple Dwelling: A former warehouse converted into a dwelling located in a city with more than one million people
- Rent Controlled: Only about 1% of apartments remain in the category. To qualify for rent control, the tenant must have been living in the unit continuously since July 1, 1971, and it must be a building built before 1947
This article will focus on free-market and rent-stabilized units since these are the most common rentals. If you need information on rent-controlled or interim multiple dwelling units, please refer to NYCOURTS.GOV for specific guidance.
Note: The eviction laws differ significantly between New York City and the rest of the state. This article is about eviction laws in New York City. Click here for help with a New York eviction outside of the city.
Free-market rental eviction
The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) provides oversight and regulation of housing development in all of New York. Depending on your type of rental and the situation, your landlord may need to get approval from the DHCR before they can start the eviction process. Here are ways you can get evicted from your free-market rental:
- Failure to cure a violation: Not correcting something that violates the rental agreement
- Damaging the property
- Refusing access: Not letting the owner in the rental for reasons like maintenance
- Owner occupancy: Owner or owner's family member needs to live in the rental
- Charitable/education/not for profit use: Rental will now be used for educational or religious purposes
Here are ways you can get evicted from your rent-stabilized unit:
- Not your primary residence
- Breach of tenancy: This reason can cover many topics such as: using your home as an Airbnb, subletting to another tenant without the landlord's approval, and not allowing the landlord access for reasons stipulated in the lease, etc.
- Nuisance: In tenant law, nuisance means actions like creating a safety hazard by hoarding, damaging the property, drugs or solicitation on the premises, etc
- Owner occupancy
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If you have fallen behind on your rent, the landlord will issue a rent demand verbally first and then in writing unless it is otherwise stipulated on your lease agreement—this can be done immediately.
If you receive a Notice of Petition and Petition from your landlord or a postcard for the Court Clerk, answer it immediately by calling your local Housing Court. Failing to do so can result in a judgment against you. You must contact the Housing Court associated with your county.
|County Housing Court||Phone Number||Business Hours|
|Bronx Housing Court||(718-466-3025||Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM|
|Kings County (Brooklyn)||(347) 404-9201||Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM|
|New York County (Manhattan)||(646) 386-5500||Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM|
|Queens County||(212) 962-4795||Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM|
|Richmond County (Staten Island)||(718) 675-8452||Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM|
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If you are being evicted due to not using your rental as your primary residence, the landlord will have to non-renew your lease, they can not evict you mid-term. Instead, they will serve you a termination notice sometime between 90-150 days before the lease expires. If the tenant doesn't vacate, it will become a holdover eviction.
A nuisance eviction starts with a Notice to Cure. This notice will describe the situation that violates the lease agreement and states what is needed to fix it and the timeframe it needs to be completed. If the tenant doesn't resolve the issue, they are sent a Termination Notice7 days before they need to vacate the premises. If they don't leave, it will become a holdover eviction.
The owner can reserve one unit for themselves or an immediate family member and must notify a tenant between 90-150 days before the lease expires. Owner occupancy evictions have special conditions if the unit is rent-stabilized. If the tenant is over the age of 65 or has lived in the unit for more than 15 years, the landlord must find housing for the tenant to move into that is similar in size, rent, and is nearby.
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Key Takeaway Evictions due to non-payment or illegal activity can occur mid-term. Most other eviction requires the landlord to wait out the lease and then non-renew it.
A timeline of eviction in New York City
How long it takes before the tenant is forcibly removed from their home in New York City can depend on how busy the courts are, how many extensions the judge gives the tenant, and if there is a hardship to consider. The timeline and steps for evictions in this sense are the same for the whole state, it can take as little as 30 days or more than a year. Here is what the process will look like:
|Step||How long it typically takes||What to expect|
|Notice of overdue payment||Day after rent is due||The landlord can demand rent verbally or in writing depending on how it is stated in the lease.|
|Written Rent Demand||14 days||Also called a Notice to Quit, the Rent Demand states that the landlord will start an eviction case if rent is not paid in 14 days. If rent is paid in full, the landlord can not move forward with the eviction. If the landlord accepts a partial payment, they will have to restart the process five days after the next missed rent payment.|
|Notice of Petition and Petition for Eviction||10-17 days before the court hearing||A third party must serve the Petition for Eviction and Petition over the age of 18 and the tenant must receive two copies—by a certified copy in the mail and the petition and notice are posted in a "conspicuous " location outside or served to the tenant|
|Tenant response||Within 10 days||If the tenant doesn't respond, the judge can issue a possessory judgment, money judgment, and order a garnishment of wages.|
|Court Hearing/Resolution Part||3-8 days after the response is received. Minimum of 14-day extension if requested||The judge must grant a 14-day extension if either party requests it and more extensions can be awarded per the judge's discretion. A Resolution Part is the first court you attend and works to have the landlord and tenant come to a mediation or a stipulation of settlement. A settlement can be something like agreeing to fix any damage caused on the premises or a way to pay off past due rent over time. The tenant can now state their case to remain in the rental or ask to have the eviction extended due to extreme hardship.|
|Judgment||3-8 days after the response is received if no extensions are granted. A minimal additional 14 days or more, based on the court's discretion.||The court will rule on the case based on documentation presented by both parties.|
|Writ of Execution is issued||Same day up to several days||If the court rules in the landlord's favor, a Writ of Execution is issued and served to the tenant by the sheriff's office. Usually, this happens within a couple of days. Currently, with an unprecedented eviction backlog, it depends on how busy that jurisdiction is.|
|Eviction||10 days after receiving the writ for non-payment, 14 days for other types of evictions||During this period, the tenant can offer to make the rent payment in full. The landlord must accept it and cancel the eviction. If the tenant can not make the payment, now is their **last chance to gather their belongings and find other housing.|
|Possession of Property is Returned||Eviction day||If the tenant is still on the property, the sheriff will forcibly remove them. In addition, it is the landlord's responsibility to safeguard any of the tenant's remaining personal property for a "reasonable amount of time." Landlords generally interpret this to mean 30 days. The former tenant must be allowed access to their items at this time. Any property remaining after this period belongs to the landlord.|
|Stay of Execution||Up to 1 year from the date of judgment||Non-payment: New York has hardship protections that allow tenants to remain in the rental for sometimes up to a year without making rental payments if they are facing a hardship. Situations that can apply are having an ill family member or not being able to relocate children to a different school district. Other evictions: If a tenant was evicted for other reasons, the maximum extension is 30 days. At the end of the extension, the sheriff will forcibly remove the tenants if they are still there.|
Key Takeaway At any time, a tenant can stop a non-payment eviction by paying the landlord in full. A tenant and landlord can reach a settlement, allowing the tenant to remain in the unit.
How to resist eviction in New York City
The process of New York City evictions is incredibly long and complex. However, the long process can help tenants get enough money together to pay off past due rent or find another place to live if things just aren't working out. Here are some tips that can help stop the eviction or at least delay it:
- Go to mediation or agree to a stipulation of settlement: Kicking a tenant out is very expensive for landlords, and they will avoid this if they can. See if they will work with you on the back rent and allow small payments. Maybe they can give you extra time to do repairs to anything you have damaged. Can you do work to improve the property in exchange for lowering or waiting past due rent?
- Find a loophole: With all of the due dates and paperwork required, a mistake can easily happen, and this could work to your advantage. Do your research and if the landlord didn't handle something correctly, bring it up in court.
- If the eviction is unjust, speak up: Do you feel like the eviction is motivated by discrimination? Has the landlord failed to maintain the property and is now stating you caused the damage? If this is the case, document all of your interactions and bring this information with you to court.
- Contact ERAP or other local agencies for help: If you qualify, you can apply for assistance through the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). People receiving unemployment or have been financially impacted by COVID-19 qualify. Once you apply for assistance, it is most likely the eviction process will be on pause until payment is made to the landlord.
The New York City Civil Court has a help center that will offer free advice and legal aid. NYC has this handy Resource Portal that asks you questions about your particular situation, and they provide you with the exact next steps and where to go for assistance. Also, the DHCR section of the New York State website is updated immediately with any state changes and has easy-to-access fact sheets for each eviction situation.
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