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Illegal Evictions and Lockouts in New York

An illegal eviction in New York City is when your landlord changes the locks to get you to leave or forces you out - in either scenario it is within your right to call the police.


As long as you can claim status as a tenant in New York then it's within your right to report your landlord to the police if they lock you out of your apartment, remove you or any of your possessions or prevent you from entering your apartment without a warrant of eviction. Illegal evictions are also called self-help evictions, because the landlord is doing it on their own instead of involving the courts and law enforcement

If they do any of these things then you can call the NYPD. Find your closest police precinct and tell them that your landlord is violating section 26-521 of the New York City Administrative Code.

When the officers show up they'll be trained to:

  • Look for probable cause that you are being unlawfully evicted
  • Identify your landlord and get him or her to let you re-enter the unit - if they can do this then they'll prepare a summons to court.
  • If they can't identify him or her then, or if your landlord refuses to let you back into the apartment, then the officers will arrest him or her and bring them criminal court immediately for arraignment. Unlawful eviction is a class A misdemeanor.

If the officer does not follow these protocols then you should ask to speak to a supervisor and direct them to section 241-12 of the Patrolman's Guide.

Next steps

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.


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