Landlord-tenant disputes are common in New York, but legislation over the past generation has attempted to make clear when landlords are authorized to evict their tenants.
"Part of the problem," according to Michael McKee, associate director of the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition, "is that tenants don't know the rules."
1983 saw New York City pass the Illegal Eviction Law, criminalizing tenants who are evicted without a court order. Even trying to obtain a legal eviction which is deemed frivolous can be grounds for penalties against the landlord.
Nonpayment of rent is the most common basis for evictions. Evictions can proceed if a Housing Court judge finds the tenant owes rent but has failed to pay. This can follow even an oral demand for payment or written demand.
Holdover cases, whereby the tenant has remained in the apartment after the lease has expired, can only begin after a landlord serves a tenant with written notice of the terminated lease. Such procedures can also have grounds in other violations such as the tenant using the apartment for illegal activity such as selling drugs, or behaving in a way that threatens the life, safety, or comfort of other residents.
Illegal subletting is also grounds for eviction. This has to do with a tenant who fails to comply with the sublet law requiring written notice of the intention to sublet be given in written form to the landlord. Landlords have 30 days in which to respond but cannot withhold permission unreasonably. Common grounds for an illegal subletting eviction is that the original tenant no longer uses the apartment as their primary residence.
Other grounds include a personal-use or owner-occupancy proceeding where a landlord seeks to use the apartment for themselves or a close relative. Those 62 or older and the permanently disabled can't be evicted for personal use unless the landlord offers equivalent or better housing at the same or lower regulated rent in the neighborhood.
For tenants who feel they are being harassed by the landlords who wish to evict them, they can bring a Hosing Part proceeding to force the landlord to make repairs, restore services or cure a violations, or bring a 7a proceeding asking the court to appoint an administrator to run the building. Tenants can also file harassment charges with eh New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.
If you are being harassed by your landlord in any way, call our New York City landlord-tenant litigation attorney to fight for your rights.