Evicting a tenant is never fun. It’s the worst-case scenario for any landlord. Nonetheless, sometimes it’s necessary to involve the courts and have the tenant forcibly removed from your property in order to protect your sanity, safety and financial well-being.
You should never take any “self-help” measures against any tenant. Ultimately, the court intercedes on behalf of both landlords and tenants when an eviction occurs because the stakes are very high for both parties. This article will discuss how you should prepare for an eviction.
The sole self-help exception would be a squatter who broke into a vacant apartment within 30 days, but self-help is at your risk
If you need help getting rid of an unruly tenant, then Evan Rogers Law, PC has experience managing these cases legally and effectively. Contact us today.
Evicting a Tenant in New York
Every state has laws governing how landlords can and cannot go about evicting a tenant. In New York City, “self-help” remedies such as turning off the utilities or locking the tenants out are illegal. These can result in court reprisals against you and judgments in favor of the tenant. A tenant who sues you successfully may recover treble damages as well as their attorney’s fees. On the other hand, if you are successful in your eviction, you may be able to recover damages from the tenant. It’s important to follow procedure to the letter. Self-help remedies are not an advisable option.
1. Getting Organized
You may want to brush up on landlord-tenant guidelines for New York State. New York City has some NYC-specific laws, and if you guessed that they are tenant-friendly, then you guessed right. So ensuring that you follow eviction laws carefully is vital. Otherwise, you may face a civil lawsuit or even criminal charges
You will want to gather evidence of:
- Unpaid rent or lease violations
- Damage to the property
- Police or neighbor complaints
- Illegal activity on the premises
2. Serving an Eviction Notice
In New York, landlords are obligated to give tenants at least a 10-day notice to either cure the default or quit the lease before initiating an eviction where there is a lease. If the tenant is delinquent in rent, then they have 5 days to become current or risk eviction. Again it is important to show the lease to your attorney so he can review its specific terms.
At this point, the tenant has three options:
- Vacate the premises (quit)
- Remedy the violation
- Fight and go through the eviction
The majority of tenants will do nothing in NYC. Some, however, will fight the eviction. Others will ignore it until you have the marshal serve the notice of eviction.
3. Filing an Eviction Petition
If the tenant fails to respond to your notice, then you will need a court order to evict your tenant. Evicting the tenant requires you to file a petition with the court among other forms and then pay a filing fee. You can rarely recover this money if you win your suit against the tenant. The documents need to be served directly to the tenant by a licensed process server. At that point, the tenant must respond to the petition and attend the court dates.
4. Presenting the Case to the Court
The next step in the process involves making your case before a judge. Your attorney will state the reasons for pursuing the eviction and the tenant will present their defense in a resolution part. If an agreement can be reached, your attorney will prepare a Stipulation of Settlement. If no agreement can be had, the case will be set down for a trial.
Contact a Landlord’s Rights Attorney Today
If you have a tenant who is giving you problems and legal means of remedying the situation have not proven effective, it helps to have a lawyer on your side. We can help you take the necessary steps to remove the tenant from your property. Evan Rogers, prior to the death of his partner and father was the landlord attorney at the firm of Rogers & Rogers Esq. for 37 years. He continues to help ONLY landlords in the Bronx and Mt Vernon. His motto is “We end the madness” and his record of success is well known in the Bronx housing court.
Give the firm a call at 718-994-1640 and ask for Stacy if you are a landlord that needs help. You can also reach Evan Rogers directly at the following email address: Evan@EvanRogersLaw.com. A 20 minute initial consultation is free, however you need to bring a set of front door keys to the building, the expired or current lease and your rent records or proof of the tenants misdeeds, in this way, if the decision to move forward, your papers can be prepared on the spot.