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Holdover Tenant Laws in New York

New York tenants who stay past the end date of their lease can typically be evicted. Landlords in NYC may need "just cause" to evict a holdover tenant, however.

Tenants who stay beyond their lease end date become holdover tenants. Landlords in both New York State and New York City can evict holdover tenants through a holdover summary proceeding—a process that's similar to a regular eviction. However, NYC landlords have to show good cause to evict a holdover tenant who is in a rent-controlled apartment. They can't just kick them out because their lease is expired.

Holdover tenants become month-to-month tenants in New York

Tenants who remain in their rental unit after the end date of their lease become what’s known as holdover tenants. If they continue to pay rent—and the landlord accepts the payments—these holdover tenants become month-to-month tenants who are still expected to comply with the terms of the original lease.1 If either the tenant or landlord wants to end the month-to-month tenancy, they must give at least one month's notice to the other party.2 Notice can be written or verbal.

Holdover tenants must be evicted through "holdover proceedings"

If a tenant overstays their lease, and the landlord wants them out, they can also evict. The process for evicting a holdover tenant in New York is known as a "holdover summary proceeding."3 It’s similar in some ways to a regular eviction proceeding (albeit more complicated) and involves the landlord asking the court’s permission to evict the tenant, serving the appropriate court documents to the tenant, and ultimately getting back possession of the rental unit.

Across most of New York State, a landlord can evict a holdover tenant simply because they've stayed past the end date of their lease (thus violating their lease agreement). But in New York City, landlords may need an additional reason to legally evict a holdover tenant (see below).4

NYC landlords may need good cause to evict a tenant

Whether a landlord in New York City needs an additional reason to evict a holdover tenant depends on the type of tenancy.5 Landlords can always evict a holdover tenant if the apartment is not rent-controlled or if the holdover tenant is a roommate, family member, or subtenant not named on the original lease.

However, NYC landlords must show "good cause" to evict a holdover tenant who lives in rent-controlled or subsidized housing in the city. Good cause includes the tenant:

  • Subletting the unit without permission
  • Having a pet when prohibited
  • Operating a business out of their apartment
  • Not living in the unit as their primary residence
  • Paying rent late
  • Conducting illegal activity
  • Harassing or threatening neighbors or building staff

The holdover tenant is not the only one who can trigger holdover proceedings, either. If someone who lives with them does any of the above things, that would also be considered good cause for an eviction case. If the reason for being evicted is one that can be fixed—such as an illegal sublet—landlords must give the holdover tenant 30 days to remedy the problem before they can begin the eviction process.

The warranty of habitability still applies during a holdover tenancy

Landlords are required to keep their rental units habitable and safe for renters at all times. If they don’t, they may not have a viable holdover proceeding against a tenant. In a leading New York case, a landlord attempted to evict his tenant through a holdover proceeding.6 But since the tenant could show that the landlord breached the warranty of habitability by allowing for contaminated water and a rodent infestation, the court dismissed the holdover proceeding and the tenant didn’t have to pay any holdover rent.

Tenants can bring holdover action against their roommates

Tenants in New York State can also bring a roommate holdover action to evict someone they live with, as long as the roommate isn’t named on the original lease.7 The roommate in question must pay rent directly to the tenant and not to the landlord, as doing so would establish a landlord/tenant relationship.

Some holdover tenants may have to pay double rent

Holdover tenants who tell the landlord they’ll be moving out by a specific date may be penalized if they don’t. Those tenants may have to pay double rent for as long as they stay in the rental.8

[1] RPP §232-c

[2] RPP §232-b

[3] New York State Unified Court System

[4] RPP §232-a

[5] NYCAC §26-408

[6] Windy Acres Farm Inc. v. Penepent (2013)

[7] RPP §232-b

[8] RPP §229

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