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Understanding a valid eviction and the process

For New York residents in Queens and elsewhere, it is not uncommon to rent a home or apartment. While it might not be the first time a renter enters into a landlord-tenant agreement, a rental agreement typically contains terms regarding the length of the lease, what is required by each party and conditions that could invalidate the agreement.

Although many of the terms contained in a lease are boilerplate and are similar from one rental agreement to the next, specific reasonable terms could be added to the agreement. Nonetheless, when it comes to evicting a tenant, landlords are required to meet certain requirements when making a valid eviction. Failure to do so could result in an unlawful eviction.

There are several reasons, often laid on in the rental agreement, which could result in a tenant being evicted. Typically, a valid eviction exists when a tenant fails to pay rent, is harboring pets or persons unauthorized to reside at the premises under the terms of the lease or conducting criminal or illegal activities within the rental premises.

If there is a valid reason to evict a tenant, a landlord cannot evict a tenant without giving proper notice first. This means that the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant, alerting him or her that they are in default. If the tenant fails to take action to fix the default within a reasonable amount of time, a landlord must file a formal court eviction proceeding if the landlord seeks to officially evict a tenant.

The formal process is commonly referred to as a forcible entry and detainer because the landlord alleges that a tenant is unlawfully using and in possession of the rental property. Therefore, the landlord seeks the assistance of the court to have the tenant removed from the rental property.

If a landlord fails to take proper steps to evict a tenant or if a tenant believes that they were unlawfully evicted, he or she might have recourses available. A landlord-tenant dispute often arises when both parties do not agree to the terms of an agreement or believes one party is in breech. Therefore, it is important to understand what options are available to those dealing with an eviction and what can be done to remedy the matter.

Source:, "Eviction and Unlawful Detainer," accessed June 27, 2016

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