The most common reason a tenant might be evicted is for failing to pay rent. In New York, a landlord can begin taking steps toward eviction as soon as a tenant fails to pay rent on time.
Please keep in mind that eviction laws will vary throughout the state of New York, depending on whether the rental property is located inside New York City and whether the property is covered by a state or local rent regulation. This article will provide general information on how to evict a tenant who fails to pay rent within the state of New York. For more detailed information, please see the resources below or speak with an attorney.
Rent is almost always due on the first day of the month, regardless of whether the first is a weekend or holiday. If the tenant fails to pay rent the day it is due, the landlord can take steps for eviction the very next day.
It is important to remember that the landlord and the tenant can agree to different terms, but those terms must be in writing and be part of the lease. The landlord and tenant will both be required to follow whatever terms are set forth in the lease. For example, the landlord could agree to give the tenant a grace period, meaning the landlord will not charge the tenant a late fee or take steps toward eviction for a set number of days after rent is due. The tenant would have then have that time to pay rent without a penalty.
After a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord can give the tenant a demand for rent, also sometimes called a three-day notice. The demand for rent must give the tenant three days to either pay the rent in full or move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit or pay rent within three days, the landlord can then file an eviction lawsuit with the court (see N.Y. Real Prop. Acts § 711(2)).
It is important to note that the three-day time period does not include weekends or holidays. This means if the landlord gives the tenant the demand for rent on a Thursday, the tenant would have until the following Tuesday to pay the rent in full.
The demand for rent must be written, and it must include the following information:
A sample demand for rent can be found online through the New York court system.
A landlord has two options when giving a tenant a demand for rent.
A tenant can respond in a variety of ways after being given a demand for rent.
To begin the eviction lawsuit for nonpayment of rent, the landlord must file a petition with the district court or housing court of the county in which the rental unit is located. The court will assign a date for a hearing before a judge, and the tenant will be notified of the proceedings. At the hearing, the judge will listen to both the landlord and the tenant and make a ruling regarding the eviction. If the landlord is successful, the court will issue a warrant of non-payment, which will give the sheriff the authority to remove the tenant and the tenant’s possessions from the rental unit.
The New York court system has a Small Property Owner Nonpayment Petition Program, which will help small rental property owners who are not represented by legal counsel to draft the paperwork needed to evict a tenant. There are separate programs for landlords who live outside New York City and landlords who live inside New York City.
The only way a landlord can legally evict a tenant is by successfully winning an eviction lawsuit in court. It is illegal for a landlord to attempt to remove a tenant from a rental unit through any other means, such as changing the locks on the doors or shutting off the utilities to the rental unit. This type of action is often referred to as a “self-help” eviction, and if the landlord attempts this, the tenant can sue the landlord for damages (see N.Y. Real Prop. Law § § 235 and 853). The Nolo article Illegal Eviction Procedures in New York has more information on the topic.
There are many resources throughout the state of New York for landlord-tenant relations, including the New York State Homes and Community Renewal website. The New York court system also has very helpful information through its online self-help center. The local housing court for Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island has also published a booklet with information related to landlord-tenant relations and the housing court.
Nolo also has many other articles on landlord-tenant relations in New York, including tenant defenses to evictions in New York. The New York charts in the State Landlord-Tenant Laws section of the Nolo website also have useful information. For more eviction articles, see the Evicting a Tenant or Ending a Lease section of Nolo.