When a landlord is dealing with a difficult tenant, whether because of chronically late or skipped rent payments, or because they are engaging in behavior that is disruptive or illegal, it is important to know the legal procedures for an eviction is legal in New York City. Landlords are facing many challenges right now from a global health crisis and a difficult economy, and also in understanding how a moratorium on evictions will apply in certain circumstances.
When you are dealing with a difficult tenant situation where it may feel like there are few choices, it is essential to have experienced legal counsel in Queens to advise you on your options and advocate for you in court if necessary.
There are specific duties in tenant-landlord law that the landlord and the tenant each owes to the other. Understanding these responsibilities is essential in avoiding disputes that could lead to eviction or court actions.
Grounds for eviction in New York
New York Consolidated Laws RPA § 711 provide several grounds for eviction if the tenant:
- continues in possession of the premises or any portion of it beyond the expiration of the lease
- has defaulted on payment of rent, taxes or assessments and a demand of rent or payment has been made
- has benefited from an insolvency statute or has gone into bankruptcy
- has used the premises for illegal activities such as prostitution, drug-dealing or other illegal business, or disturbed the peace of other tenants
While evictions can be time-consuming and complex, it is important to find solutions that keep the property owner on the right side of the law. An improper eviction that does not follow legal procedures can result in a lawsuit against the landlord.
The self-help eviction
When the landlord resorts to self-help evictions that appear punitive, harmful or aggressive, a court will often award the tenant damages. Some self-help tactics to avoid include:
- not paying utility bills, resulting in the utility company cutting off service
- changing the locks
- removing the tenant’s property threatening
- harassing or ordering the tenant to leave
If the eviction is illegal, the tenant can sue the property owner for trespass, wrongful eviction, assault, slander or inflicting emotional distress.