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By Shannon Martin
Updated on Jun 27, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
In New York, a landlord can only evict a tenant after they have won a judgment of possession from the court. Furthermore, the landlord can not perform the evictions themselves—a sheriff, marshal, or constable must be present. Of course, no one wants to be evicted, but if you are in this situation, it's important to know that there are rules set up to protect you!
The Empire State is one of the most expensive states to call home, and it also has some of the highest rental prices. All of New York felt the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the economy—from a housing shortage to loss of income to the loneliness of "stay apart so we can stay together".
Now with the eviction moratorium lifted, where do we go from here?
This is why Jerry is here to help. Not just a super app for car insurance or renters insurance, Jerry can help you with everyday concerns—like where to take your next vacation or where to turn to for help if you are facing an eviction. Excelsior!
The eviction laws differ significantly between New York City and the rest of the state. This article is about eviction laws for outside New York City. For help with a New York City eviction, click here.
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New York eviction 101: the ways you can be evicted
The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) provides oversight and regulation of housing development in New York. Some evictions need approval from the DHCR before the landlord can move forward with court proceedings, and some don't. Here is a list of ways tenants can be evicted that do not need DHCR approval:
- 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 education or religious purposes)
Evictions that need DHCR approval before court proceedings:
- Property is removed from the rental market
- Unsafe housing that will be rehabilitated or demolished
If your landlord wants you to move but doesn't have a legal reason, as stated above, they can not evict you. However, they can wait until it is time for your lease to renew and they can choose not to renew it.
How a landlord can advise of the non-renewal depends on the type of rental agreement you have, if you have one at all. Rental agreements can fall into two categories—here we will include a third category since it has become more prevalent:
- Written Lease
- Month-to-Month Tenant
- Squatter (no agreement)
Tenants have a right to prior notification if the landlord does not intend to renew their lease, and the landlord must do it within specific time frames. Here's the difference:
|Written Lease Period (including prior terms)||Notification Timeframe|
|Less than 1 year||30 days in advance|
|At least 1 year, less than 2 years||60 days in advance|
|2 Years or more||90 days in advance|
Month to Month:
|Month-to-Month Tenant||Notification Timeframe|
|Less than 1 year||30 days notice|
|At least 1 year, less than 2 years||60 days notice|
|2 Years or more||90 days notice|
|Less than 10 years||10 days notice|
|More than 10 years||Too late, squatter's rights|
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Key Takeaway In New York, a landlord needs to have a legal reason to evict a tenant during the lease term. If they don't, they must inform the tenant of non-renewal ahead of time. Not doing so can void the eviction.
If a tenant does not move after the lease is up, this is called a holdover. Holdover evictions happen for reasons other than non-payment, like causing damage to the property, not moving after a prior notice was issued, or violating the terms of the lease.
In most situations, the landlord must give you a Notice of Termination before starting the eviction. The notice will specify the following information:
- The reason for termination
- The date you must move
- Advise that the landlord will evict you if you have not moved by the date stated in the notice
If you stay past the termination date, the landlord will serve you with a Notice of Petition and Petition.
These are two separate documents that have to be served to you by a third party over the age of 18. The landlord can not serve you, and the letters have to be handed to you directly. If they can not reach you in person after two attempts, the letters can be left at the door and they must send an additional set via certified mail.
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Key Takeaway Just because a tenant isn't home to receive the eviction papers doesn't mean they won't be served. Eviction papers can be served to any employee or resident, left outside of the door, and will also be sent by certified mail.
A timeline of eviction in New York State
If your landlord has started the eviction process and you can't move right away, you might wonder how long you really have before the sheriff is knocking at your door. Due to New York's strict tenant protections, you can have anywhere from 30 days to up to a year if you can prove a case of extreme hardship. Here is a condensed version of the process:
|Step||How long it typically takes||What to expect|
|Notice of overdue payment||5 days after rent was due||The landlord must send this notice via certified mail no earlier than 5 days after the rent is due.|
|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—delivered in person to someone who lives or works in the rental and by a certified copy in the mail, or the petition and notice is posted in a "conspicuous " location outside of the door of the rental and sent via certified mail.|
|Tenant response||Within 10 days||If the tenant doesn't respond to the Petition, the judge can rule for the landlord that day.|
|Court Hearing||3-8 days after the response is received. Minimum of 14 day extension if it is requested||If the tenant offers payment in full, before the court date, the landlord must accept it and the eviction stops. The judge must grant a 14-day extension if either party requests it and more extensions can be awarded per the judge's discretion. The tenant can now state their case to remain in the rental or ask to have the eviction extended due to an extreme hardship. If the tenant doesn't respond to the Petition, the judge can rule for the landlord that day.|
|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.|
|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. The landlord does not have to accept a partial payment, but if they do, they need to restart the eviction process five days after the next missed rental payment. 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 A tenant being evicted for non-payment can stop the eviction at any time during the eviction process by making their payment in full. If offered, a landlord must accept a full payment, and the eviction can not move forward.
How to resist eviction in New York State
While the lengthy eviction process in New York frustrates landlords, this gives tenants as much time as possible to get caught up on rent, fix any damage they caused, or settle the situation with the landlord. If you have been served an eviction notice and want to remain in your home, you need to know your rights as a tenant and what you can do about it:
- Work out a payment arrangement: If your eviction is due to non-payment, see if the landlord will allow you to pay off the past due rent over time rather than all at once.
- Do your research and find a loophole: The New York eviction process is complex, and it is easy to make mistakes. If the landlord did something incorrectly or skipped a step, they will need to start the process from the beginning—this will buy you more time.
- 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 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.
Eviction laws in New York have always been complicated, and the rules are constantly changing. Thankfully, New York has several online resources to make navigating tenant law a little more manageable.
Two guides in particular—Tenant Question and Answer in NonPayment Eviction Cases and Tenant Question and Answer in Holdover Eviction Cases, break down both situations in an easy-to-read format. 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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