Important Information For Landlord/Tenant
Q: Can I just change the locks on the apartment?
No. In New York State a landlord cannot evict a tenant without a Warrant of Eviction which can only be issued by a court. If a landlord evicts a tenant without getting a Warrant of Eviction, the landlord is subject to an action by the tenant for damages and the landlord can be required to pay the tenant three times the amount of money the tenant lost due to the wrongful eviction.
Q: My tenant is not paying the rent, what can I do?
You can bring an eviction proceeding, but only after making a rent demand. The rent demand made be made orally or in writing. If the demand is written it must be served on the tenant at least 3 days before commencing the eviction proceeding. Both an oral and written rent demand must tell the tenant how much he owes and that unless that amount is paid by a certain date, an eviction proceeding will be commenced.
Q: My tenant’s lease has expired but he refuses to move, what should I do?
You should start an eviction proceeding based upon the tenant's holdover. However, if you have accepted rent from the tenant after the lease expired you have made the tenant a month-to-month tenant and can no longer evict the tenant based upon the expired lease.
Q: How do I get rid of a month-to-month tenant?
First, you must serve the tenant with a written Notice of Termination. The Notice of Termination must give the tenant a specific date when the month-to-month tenancy is terminated. The amount of time that you have to give the tenant in the Notice of Termination is based upon how long the tenant has lived in the premises.
After the date of the termination of the month-to-month tenancy which is set forth in the Notice of Termination, if the tenant has not left, you must bring an eviction proceeding to get the tenant out.
Q: Do I need a lawyer to do an eviction?
Like in all legal matters you can represent yourself, but it is not recommended. An eviction proceeding can be complicated and requires several legal forms which must be prepared correctly. Even a minor mistake in the preparation of the paperwork can cause the case to be dismissed. You can find all the necessary forms on-line, but the internet will not help you fill them our correctly, or help you present your case to the judge.