The Eviction Process in New York City
Evictions in New York City generally fall into two distinct categories, and each has its own process that must be followed precisely by the landlord. The most common reason for eviction is nonpayment of rent. All other reasons -- including damage to property or illegal activity -- fall into the second category. It is illegal for a landlord in New York City to attempt to evict a tenant who has a signed lease and has been a resident for more than 30 days without following the proper eviction process.
Eviction for Unpaid Rent
The first thing that a landlord must do when a tenant has failed to pay rent on time is to submit a three-day demand for rent to the tenant. The demand for rent must include the amount of rent owed and state clearly that the landlord will file a petition for eviction if the rent is not paid within the next three days. If the tenant fails to pay the rent within three days after the notice has been served, the landlord may begin the petition process for eviction.
General Eviction Notices
In other cases -- including lease violations, creating a nuisance, or criminal behavior -- a 30-day eviction notice is required. This notice informs the tenant that the eviction process will begin in 30 days if the tenant does not vacate the property beforehand. The landlord does not have to offer the tenant continued residency if the issue is resolved, but the 30-day eviction notice must state clearly the reasons for the eviction and the specific violations. The notice must give the renter a full 30-day rental term in which to move out, so it is best served just before the beginning of the month.
The Petition Process
Once the three-day notice or the 30-day notice has been given to the tenant, and it is not heeded, meaning the tenant remains in the property without paying rent or otherwise fulfilling the conditions of the notice, the eviction process can begin in earnest. Landlords complete a notice of petition and a petition form, and file these items with the New York City Civil Court Housing Office. The clerk will keep the petition form and stamp and return the notice of petition.
Serving the Petition
The notice of petition, which will have a hearing date and location on it, must be served to the tenant in one of three ways:
- Personal: The notice of petition can be served directly and personally to the tenant by anyone other than the landlord. This is the only way an eviction can be served if the landlord is seeking monetary damages.
- Substitute: If the tenant is not available in person, a copy of the notice of petition can be left with another adult who resides at the same address, even if that person is not named in the petition. If this is done, the landlord must also mail copies of the petition and notice of petition to the tenant by registered mail.
- Posted: If the landlord has tried at least twice to personally contact the tenant, including once during the day and once at night, then the petition may be posted in a conspicuous location, such as on the door.
The Eviction Hearing
At the eviction hearing, the burden of proof is on the landlord to show that the tenant did not pay rent, or violated the rental agreement or the law. If the tenant does not show up for the hearing, the judge will rule in the landlord's favor and give the tenant five days to move out, provided the landlord filed and served all papers correctly.
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