Real Estate Law – Eviction Process for Landlords

Eviction Process for Landlords

In New York, a tenant can be evicted for any number of reasons. The New York eviction process has two types of cases that landlords may bring against tenants. The first process is for the most common reason for eviction and that is nonpayment of rent. The second process is for all other eviction reasons, such as holdovers or for violating a provision of the lease.

Before a landlord can commence with either eviction process, the tenancy must first be terminated. This happens when the landlord provides the tenant with proper written notice. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the landlord can then file an eviction lawsuit with the court. Different types of notices and procedures are needed for different situations. Furthermore, eviction laws and rules vary depending on whether the rental property is located within the five boroughs of New York City or outside the city, and whether or not the property is rent regulated or rent stabilized.

Notice for Termination With Cause
If a landlord wants to terminate a tenancy early, or have a tenant move out before the rental term has expired, the landlord will need to have cause. The tenant can be evicted early for a couple of different reasons, including not paying rent or violating the lease or rental agreement. To start the eviction process, the landlord must give the tenant written notice. The type of notice needed will be determined by the reason for the eviction.

Failure to Pay Rent
Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
If the tenant does not pay rent when it is due, the landlord can give the tenant a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. The Three-Day Notice to pay rent is also known as the “Demand for Rent”. A Three-Day Demand for Rent is required in cases of nonpayment of rent and it is the first step in the process. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and that the landlord will file a Petition for Eviction if the rent is not paid within the three(3) day period.

This notice informs the tenant that the tenant has three(3) days to either pay rent in full or move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not pay the rent or move out of the rental unit, then the landlord can move on to the next step and file the Petition for Eviction.

Violations of Lease Terms/Holdovers/Criminal Acts
Ten-Day Notice to Cure
The Ten-Day Notice to Cure is the first notice the landlord needs to give the tenant if the landlord seeks to evict the tenant for violation of terms of the lease. This notice informs the tenant that the tenant has ten(10) days to correct the lease violation. If the tenant fixes the problem, the landlord cannot take any further steps against the tenant. If the tenant refuses or fails to correct the violation, the landlord can then proceed to the next step in the process and provide the tenant with the Thirty-Day Notice of Termination.

Thirty-Day Notice of Termination
A Thirty-Day Notice of Termination, also referred to as “Notice of Termination”, must be served for all other evictions, including violations of the lease (violations of the terms of the lease), refusing to leave after the lease has expired (lease holdover), for creating a nuisance or for participating in criminal behavior on the premises. The Notice of Termination informs the tenant that the tenancy has been terminated because the tenant failed to correct the lease violation, and the tenant has thirty(30) days to move out and vacate the rental premises. If the tenant fails to vacate, then the landlord can file the Petition for Eviction with the courts.

Petition for Eviction
If all else has failed, the landlord can file the Petition for Eviction. This is done in the Housing section of the civil court for the jurisdiction/county (i.e. Brooklyn – Kings County, Staten Island – Richmond County) where the property is located. The Petition needs to state the reason for the eviction and the Notice of Petition that is issued by the clerk has the date, time and location of the hearing.

Service of Process of the Petition and Notice of Petition
There are three ways the landlord can serve the Petition for Eviction and Notice of Petition to the tenant:

  • Personal service. Anyone other than the landlord can personally serve the tenant. If the landlord is also requesting money damages, the tenant must be personally served
  • Substituted service. If the tenant is not available, the Petition can be left with a person of suitable age and discretion who also resides in the unit. The server must also immediately mail 2 copies of the Petition and Notice of Petition–one by regular mail and one by registered mail
  • Posting or Conspicuous Location. If no one is present after two attempts are made, one during working hours and one during evening or off hours, the server may attach or post the documents to the unit door or by sliding them under the door.

Once service of process has been completed, the landlord needs to ensure that he/she gets the Affidavit of Service of Process. The server must sign an affidavit before a notary public regarding the method of service and provide this affidavit to the landlord.

The Court Hearing
The landlord is the one bringing the legal action so the burden of proof is on the landlord. He/She must prove that the tenant did not pay the rent when due or that the tenant has committed a substantial violation(s) of the lease. Things/Items the landlord needs to have at the court hearing are:

  • documentary evidence
  • testimonial evidence, if necessary
  • copies of the lease
  • copies of the Petition and Notice of Petition served on the tenant
  • Affidavit of Service
  • rent receipts
  • photographs, if necessary
  • repair estimates, if necessary
  • any other evidence in support of the landlord’s allegations

If the tenant fails to appear, the judge will declare a default judgment and give the tenant five(5) days to vacate the premises. If the landlord prevails in a nonpayment of rent case, the tenant will be given five(5) days to pay the overdue rent and other costs incurred by the landlord. If the landlord prevails in a different type of eviction case (violations/holdovers), the judge may allow the tenant a limited time to cure the lease violations.

If you have any questions or legal needs, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.

This document/post/article is not to be considered as legal advice. Content and information contained herein is subject to changes, modifications, and may contain inaccuracies or out-of-date information. As with any legal matter or other matters of importance, consultation with an attorney or professional is the best course of action.