The Eviction Process in New York: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers

An overview of New York eviction rules, forms, and procedures.

In New York, a landlord can evict a tenant for any number of reasons. However, before the eviction can occur, the landlord must first terminate the tenancy. This happens when the landlord gives the tenant written notice, as required by state or city law. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the landlord can then file an eviction lawsuit with the court.

New York laws require the landlord to end a tenancy in very specific ways. Different types of notices and procedures are needed for different situations. This article will provide a general overview of the rules landlords and tenants must follow when evicting a tenant or ending a tenancy in New York.

It is important to note that eviction laws and rules may be different depending on whether the rental property is located within New York City or outside the city, and whether the property is rent regulated or not. For further information or questions, contact a lawyer or a landlord trade group such as the Rent Stabilization Association of New York City.

Notice for Termination With Cause

If a landlord wants to terminate a tenancy early, or have a tenant move out before the rental term has expired, the landlord will need to have cause. The tenant can be evicted early for a couple of different reasons, including not paying rent or violating the lease or rental agreement. To start the eviction process, the landlord must give the tenant written notice. The type of notice needed will be determined by the reason for the eviction.

  • Fourteen-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: If the tenant does not pay rent when it is due, the landlord can give the tenant a fourteen-day notice to pay rent or quit. This notice will inform the tenant that the tenant has fourteen days to either pay rent in full or move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not pay the rent or move out of the rental unit, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court at the end of the fourteen days (see N.Y. Real Prop. Acts § 711(2)).
  • Notice to Cure and Notice of Termination: If the landlord wants to evict the tenant because the tenant has violated the lease, the landlord must provide the tenant with two different types of notice.
    • Notice to Cure: The notice to cure is the first notice the landlord needs to give the tenant who has violated the lease. This notice informs the tenant that the tenant has ten days to correct the lease violation. If the tenant fixes the problem, the landlord cannot take any further steps against the tenant. However, if the tenant does not correct the violation, the landlord can then give the tenant a notice of termination.
    • Notice of Termination: The landlord can give the tenant a notice of termination after the landlord has already given the tenant a notice to cure and the tenant has not complied with it. The notice of termination will then inform the tenant that the tenancy has been terminated because the tenant failed to correct the lease violation, and the tenant has 30 days to move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit, then the landlord can begin eviction proceedings against the tenant through the court system (see the New York Courts self-help center for holdover notices and the book New York City Landlords and Owners, page 8, published by the New York City housing court, for more information).

Notice for Termination Without Cause

A landlord cannot end a tenancy early without cause. If the landlord does not have cause for an eviction case, then the landlord must wait until the end of the lease or rental period before asking or expecting the tenant to move. The landlord may still need to give the tenant notice, though.

Month-to-Month Rental Agreement

If a tenant has a month-to-month lease or rental agreement and the landlord wants the tenant to move but does not have cause, then the landlord must give the tenant notice as follows: Tenants occupying for a year or having a lease of at least one year: 30 days' notice. Tenants occupying from one to two years and lease holders of one to two year leases: 60 days' notice. Tenants occupying more than two years or having leases of two years or more: 90 days' notice. (N.Y. Real Prop. §226-c).

Fixed-Term Lease

If a tenant has a tenancy that is for a fixed term, such as six months or one year, and the landlord does not have cause to terminate the tenancy early, then the landlord must wait until the end of the term before expecting the tenant to move. Once the term ends, the landlord does not need to give the tenant notice to move, unless the terms of the lease require the landlord to do so; the landlord can expect the tenant to move out of the rental unit at the end of the term (unless the tenant has indicated otherwise, such as by asking for a lease renewal).

Tenant Eviction Defenses

Even though a landlord thinks there is cause to evict a tenant, the tenant may decide to fight the eviction. This would increase the amount of time the eviction lawsuit takes. The tenant may have several valid defenses, such as the landlord making procedural mistakes during the eviction (for example, improperly serving a notice or not waiting long enough before filing the eviction lawsuit). Some other potential defenses include the landlord's failure to maintain the rental unit according to law or the landlord discriminating against the tenant. For more information on tenant defenses, see Tenant Defenses to Eviction in New York.

Removal of the Tenant

It is illegal for a landlord to try to force a tenant to move out of a rental unit. The tenant can only be removed after the landlord has successfully won an eviction lawsuit. Even then, the only person who can legally remove the tenant from the rental unit is a sheriff. Illegal Eviction Procedures in New York has more information on this topic.

After the tenant has moved out, the landlord may find that the tenant left behind personal property. Unlike most states, New York does not have laws that tell a landlord how to deal with this property. However, the landlord should not just dispose of the property immediately. Instead, the landlord should notify the tenant of the abandoned property and give the tenant reasonable time to claim it. If the tenant does not claim it within a reasonable time, then the landlord can either sell or dispose of the property. Handling a Tenant's Abandoned Property in New York has very useful information for what to do in this situation.

Rationale for New York Eviction Rules

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by New York law when evicting a tenant. Otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, the rules are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, with the end result being that the tenant has lost his or her home. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new place to live.

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