What New York Renters Need to Know About Eviction
The laws in New York make it easy for a renter to claim tenancy and difficult for a landlord to legally evict a tenant.
If you have an active lease agreement, your landlord has ever accepted rent from you, or you have lived in the apartment for 30 days or longer, then the only way to make you leave your apartment is to evict you—by going through the legal process described below. If a landlord tries to kick you out illegally, then they can be arrested and charged with a Class A misdemeanor.
Can I be evicted for any reason?
No—your New York landlord can only evict you if they can provide just cause. Article 711 says that any of these situations are just cause:
- Staying in your rental after the term is over without signing a new lease and without the landlord’s permission (this is called holding over)
- Not paying the rent
- Not paying taxes that you agreed to pay in your lease
- If you filed for bankruptcy
- If you are using the premises for illegal purposes.
- For removing a smoke or fire detector as long as a) you live in a city with more than one million people, and b) you were warned about it, housing inspectors came and filed a report, and you still didn’t put it back in. They cannot evict you for this, though, if you have asked for the detector to be removed because it’s interfering with how you use your kitchen.
One caveat: if you're a month-to-month tenant, your landlord is allowed to give you a 30-day termination notice whenever they'd like, for any reason (assuming you don't live in a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartment, in which case the laws are different). This is not an eviction, but you do have to move out.
What is the eviction process like in New York?
The legal eviction process involves a series of notices and court filings that all have to be executed at the right time and in the right way.
Notices to cure and quit
If you are being evicted because you aren’t paying your rent or breached your lease agreement in some other way, then your landlord must start by giving you an opportunity to fix the problem. They’ll send you either a rent demand or a notice to cure.
After you've gotten the notice to cure—and you haven't fixed the issue at hand—you will get a notice to quit. For a rent demand, your landlord must wait three days before serving you with a notice to quit. For any other reason, they need to wait 10 days.
If you are being evicted as part of a holdover summary eviction, then your landlord will start by serving you with a notice to quit.
After serving you with a notice to quit, your landlord will need to serve you with a petition and a notice of petition. The petition must include five things, as outlined in state law. It should:
- State their interest in the property
- State your interest and your relationship to them
- Describe the apartment and building
- Describe the situation that led them to petition
- State what they want the court to do
They may want a judgment for rent due, or the fair value of use and occupancy of the premises. The petition is directed at the court and the notice of petition is directed at you. Whatever they say that their demands are in the petition needs to be mirrored in the notice of petition.
How should the notices be delivered?
If your landlord doesn’t serve you formally and get proof of the service—called an "affidavit of service"—then it could bungle the whole proceeding and force them to start over.
The notice of petition must be delivered personally to the tenant or someone “of suitable age and discretion” who lives in the rental. It can also be left in an obvious place, like taped to a door. In addition, it must also be mailed to you using registered or certified mail and first class mail. They must send the mail to the property that they are evicting you from.
If you’re getting evicted from a property where you don’t currently live, and the landlord has your place of residence in writing—for example, if you got permission to sublet while you lived somewhere else, and you let them know where you would be living—then they are also required to send the notice of petition to this address. If they have your work address, they’re also required to send it there.
How long does the eviction process take in New York?
In total, you can expect the eviction process in New York to take a minimum of eight days and a maximum of 55 days:
- Rent demand or notice cure: Wait 3-10 days
- Notice to quit: Wait 30 days
- Petition: Wait three days to file petition with court
- Petition filed with court: Wait 5-12 days before your court date
- Warrant of eviction issued by court: A landlord needs to have a city marshal or sheriff remove you or prevent you from entering your apartment once they've got a warrant
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.