In New York, a landlord cannot evict a tenant from their rented space simply because they failed to pay rent. There is an involved legal process that must go forward before someone can be forced out of an apartment or other rented space. But what exactly is this process, and what happens when a landlord attempts to evict a tenant?
Step One: Notice of Nonpayment
Before anything else, a landlord must give a tenant prior notice of their failure to pay rent, as well as their intention to move forward with eviction. This notice must come at least ten days before officially filing to evict the tenant, or thirty days if the eviction is the result of an alleged lease violation. This gives tenants enough time to potentially cure the issue by paying back any money owed, or to negotiate a deal with the landlord out of court. It also gives tenants time to obtain legal counsel, so they can defend themselves if they get evicted.
Step Two: Summons and Complaint
If the issue that resulted in the eviction is not resolved, the next step is for the landlord to file a lawsuit in the appropriate court. This also means delivering a summons and complaint to the tenant, preferably in person, which notifies them of the lawsuit. The summons and complaint must fulfill all procedural requirements to be valid, and can be thrown out if there are any errors in the service of process.
Step Three: The Lawsuit
During the lawsuit, the landlord and tenant both put forward their claims as to why the eviction should, or should not, go forward. Both sides can present evidence of their claims, and provide testimony about any actions they did to try to cure the situation. A landlord must win their case before they can formally go ahead with the eviction. A landlord who attempts to remove a tenant against their will before winning their case may face legal penalties as a result.
Step Four: Notice of Execution
If the landlord wins their case, they can request a writ of execution, which allows them to go forward with the eviction. They must then give the tenant a notice of execution, which gives them 14 days to move out from their rented space. If the tenant fails to leave before that point, they can be forcibly removed by law enforcement. However, landlords cannot evict tenants by force on their own, and may be legally accountable if they harm a tenant in the process of eviction.
If you have questions regarding your rights as a landlord or tenant, you should seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling these matters. A New York landlord-tenant lawyer, who is experienced in handling landlord-tenant cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you are facing a dispute over unpaid rent, lease violations, or other similar issues, contact the Suffolk County landlord-tenant attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.