Evicting a Tenant: What You Need to Know to Do it Legally

As a landlord there are numerous reasons why you might need to evict a tenant from your property. These reasons can range from not paying rent to excessive damage to the property that is beyond normal wear and tear. Other times tenants may be in violation of their lease by having pets that aren’t allowed per the lease or using the property for illegal purposes, such as drug trafficking or prostitution. Depending on the situation, you might need to hire a landlord tenant lawyer NYC to help you legally evict a tenant from your property.

Regardless of your reason for needing to evict a tenant, there is a process that you must adhere to. This involves more than simply tossing them and their possessions out into the street. Before a tenant can be legally evicted, landlords must follow the rules and laws that are in place, otherwise you might find yourself in a lawsuit for unlawful eviction or criminal trespassing. So, what do you need to do in order to be able to legally evict a tenant?

The first step to evicting a tenant in New York City is to provide the tenant with a written notice. The type of written notice that will be required is dependent upon the reason for the eviction.  

  • Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate

If the tenant does not pay their rent when it is due, the landlord has the legal right to provide the tenant with a three-day notice to either pay their rent or vacate the property. If the tenant neglects to pay their rent and retains residence of the property, the landlord may then file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant with the court at the end of the three days.

  • Notice to Cure and Notice of Termination

If the landlord is evicting the tenant based on a violation of the lease agreement, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with both a notice to cure and a notice of termination.

    • Notice to Cure

When a tenant has violated a lease, the first notice that a landlord needs to provide is a notice to cure. This notice will inform the tenant that they have 10 days from the date of the notice to correct the lease violation. If the tenant takes the necessary steps to correct the violation within the 10 days, the landlord can take no further action against the tenant. However, if the tenant fails to correct the violation within the 10 days, the landlord is then legally eligible to provide the tenant with a notice of termination.

    • Notice of Termination

After providing a tenant with a notice to cure and the tenant failed to comply, the landlord may then issue a notice to terminate. This notice will inform the tenant that the tenancy has been terminated due to lease violation, therefore, the tenant has 30 days to vacate the property. At the end of the 30 days if the tenant is still living in the property, the landlord may begin eviction proceedings against the tenant through the court system.

It is unlawful for a landlord to terminate a lease without just cause. If there is no justifiable cause for eviction, the landlord must wait until the lease is up before expecting or asking the tenant to move. Depending on the type of lease, the landlord may still be required to provide the tenant with notice to vacate the property at the end of the lease term.

Month-to-Month Lease

For rental agreements that are month-to-month contracts, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with 30 days notice of the termination of the lease. This will serve to notify the tenant that at the end of 30 days the tenant will be expected to move out, as the lease will not carry over for another month.

Fixed-Term Lease

For leases that are set for a fixed term, such as six-months or a year, and there is no just cause to terminate the lease, the landlord is required to wait until the end of term before expecting the tenant to move out. Unless specified within the lease, the landlord is not required to provide notice to the tenant.

There is a lot that goes into evicting a tenant—having just cause, abiding to terms of lease agreements and filing a claim with the court when necessary. This is when having an experienced landlord tenant lawyer NYC on your side can prove to be valuable. You’ll know exactly how to go about legally evicting a tenant, saving you time and money in the long run.

Warren S. Dank, Esq., P.C. has been helping landlords successfully and legally evict tenants in NYC. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to legally evict a tenant, contact the office of Warren S. Dank today!

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