If your landlord threatens to evict you, you might feel like they have all the power. But New York State law contains many rights for tenants that you might be able to use to fight back.
The rent isn’t ‘late’ for five days
For example, state law does not consider a rent payment to be late unless payment has not been made until five days after it is due. In addition to serving you with a “Written Demand for Payment of Past Due Rent” (“14-Day Notice”), your landlord must also provide you a “Written Notice of Non-Payment of Rent by Certified Mail.” Of further note, if your landlord charges you a late fee, it cannot exceed $50 or 5 percent of your monthly rent, whichever is less.
There are various reasons a landlord can go to court to get permission to evict a tenant: 1) failure to pay rent and to repay outstanding rent; 2) a party holding over after their tenancy or right to occupy a premises expires (either by natural expiration of a lease or termination of a month-to-month tenancy); or 3) a “significant” violation of a “substantial obligation” under the terms of the lease and/or “nuisance” behavior occurring (e.g. serious breaches, like using the premises for criminal activity or committing an ongoing nuisance).
No landlord may forcibly evict a tenant through physical force, threats, shutting off essential services, removing the tenant’s possessions from the premises, or changing the doors’ locks (New York RPAPL Section 768). A landlord must pursue an eviction through the court, giving you the chance to defend yourself. If the judge issues the eviction (Judgment of Possession) based on nonpayment of rent, you may still have until the time the sheriff’s deputy or marshal executes the Warrant of Eviction (i.e., shows up to remove you from the premises) to pay the outstanding rent and have the warrant dismissed.
These are just some examples of your rights as a tenant. These protections help level the playing field when a landlord tries to evict a tenant or other occupant of a property. Attorney Bradley D. Schnur has earned a solid reputation for his experience and formidable representation of clients in eviction proceedings in Nassau County (including Nassau County District Court the City of Glen Cove and City of Long Beach), Suffolk County (including Suffolk County District Court, Southampton Town Court, East Hampton Town Court and Riverhead Town Court), Westchester County (including the City of White Plains and the various Town Courts) and Queens.