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Evicting a Tenant Without a Lease in NYC: What You Should Know

Owning a multi-family building comes with many duties, including maintaining units, managing staff, and tracking expenses. But of all the tasks associated with building ownership, eviction has to be the worst!

No one likes evicting a tenant, especially when that tenant has a lease. But, as we all know, there are some instances when asking someone to move on is completely necessary:

  1. When rent is past due or
  2. When a tenant has seriously violated the terms of the lease agreement.

Some tenants can be more trouble than they're worth. Click here to learn about  the tenant habits that are costing you money.

Of course, the first reason is obvious—no pay, no stay. Unsurprisingly, there are many potential ways a tenant can violate a lease agreement: Damage to property, excessive disruptions, and illegal activity are just a few of them. Regardless of the reason, the process for eviction remains the same.

How to Evict a Tenant With a Lease in NYC

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to evict a tenant. The first step is serving the tenant a termination notice, but there are different types of notice. If you want to evict due to the tenant not paying the rent, a 14-Day Demand For Rent Notice must be issued. For tenants who fail to comply with other terms of the lease, a 30-Day Notice should be given.

If the tenant doesn’t comply with the notice, you can then file a legal eviction lawsuit in court. Legal eviction is called a Summary Proceeding, and tenants must be notified of it through someone other than yourself delivering a Notice of Petition and a Petition. 

Both papers must be served at least 5 days before the predetermined court date, and the court date must take place within 12 days of being served. Although time-consuming, the process is fairly straightforward when you have clear evidence of a violation.

But what if there is no lease? Or if a tenant who has stayed on month-to-month after their previous lease ended? What rights do these tenants have?

How to Evict a Tenant in NYC With No Lease

First, let's discuss why a tenant or landlord wouldn't want a lease in the first place. Interestingly, it's not uncommon for both landlords and tenants to be wary of signing one. The deciding factor comes down to a preference for either freedom (and risk) or stability (and security).

When a tenant okays  a month-to-month rental agreement (or just living in an apartment with no agreement whatsoever), they can walk away whenever they want. Transitory arrangements are popular for people who either move frequently or who want to "try out" particular areas in new cities.

The benefit to the landlord in this situation is that it’s simple to evict. The exceptions are:

a). Communities with some form of rent regulation, stabilization, or control

b). Tenants who have stayed on month-to-month after finishing a lease

Problematic tenants? Click here to learn about some surprising the tenant  habits that are costing you money.

It's important to note that tenants who did fulfill their lease agreements (and are now month-to-month) are still protected by original lease terms in NYC.

Here's what you need to know for most tenants who don’t have a lease:

  • You must give a 30-Day Notice The tenant must either a). Owe rent or b). Have been given a month's notice to move out.
  • The notice must be provided in writing (i.e. Notice to Quit).
  • You must let the tenant know they can contest the eviction in housing court.
  • You must make three "good faith" efforts to hand-deliver the notice. After three failed attempts, you're permitted to mail the notice or leave a copy at the residence.

Important: The notice must not terminate the tenancy until the last date for which rent has been paid or later. For example, if rent is paid through the end of September, your notice period cannot end before September 28th. The notice must provide the tenant a full 30 days.

NYC Tenant Evictions

It’s important to note that if a tenant is being evicted due to not paying, if they pay what’s owed, they can stop the eviction process. In general, it’s crucial that landlords do everything by the book when it comes to tenant evictions. Otherwise, you can end up being sued by your tenant.

While evicting a tenant is never easy, it's sometimes necessary. The advice in this article is meant to provide an overview of the eviction process. It is no substitute for professional legal counsel. Check out New York State law (N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 232-b) for the exact rules and procedures for how to prepare and serve termination notices.

 

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david-schwartz

Author

is the founder and president of The Water Scrooge, which offers maintenance-free, tamper-proof water conservation tools to landlords and homeowners. The Water Scrooge is based in Lynbrook, N.Y.