Understanding Eviction Proceedings
Hudson Valley tenants face soaring rents and a severe lack of affordable housing, making eviction an increasingly common reality. It is widely accepted that households paying more than 30% of their annual income for rent are cost burdened, while those households paying more than 50% are severely cost burdened. According to recent US Census ACS survey data, there are an estimated 282,880 renter occupied housing units throughout the Hudson Valley and approximately 50% or 141,440 of those units are spending 30% or more of their income on rent. For those 141,440 rent burdened households, any unexpected loss of income or increase in expenses leaves them at risk of eviction.
There is No “Self-Help” Eviction in New York!
In New York, only a marshal can legally evict a tenant. If your Landlord attempts to illegally evict you, they are subject to criminal charges. If you are illegally locked out, call the police. Unless you are unable to provide proof you are a tenant at the residence, law enforcement should be able to restore your access to the unit. If the police are unable to help, call our office. HVJC can file petitions with the court that will allow you to be returned to your home.
A Landlord must take you to court in order to start the eviction process. For more information, read below:
The Eviction Process
Your Landlord cannot evict you without filing an eviction proceedings against you in your local city or town court. The law requires that your Landlord provide sufficient evidence for seeking eviction BEFORE ever filing an eviction proceeding in court. Only after the notice period has passed can your Landlord start eviction filings.
In any type of eviction proceeding, your Landlord cannot lock you out, interfere with your access or use of your apartment, shut off utilities, harass you or otherwise attempt to force you to leave.
There are two main types of eviction, Non-Payment Proceedings and Holdover Proceedings. Learn the basic differences:
In a Non-Payment Proceeding, the Landlord sues to enforce the obligations of the lease. When a Tenant fails to pay rent for one month or more, their Landlord can start a Non-Payment Proceeding. Before filing anything in Court, a Landlord must:
- Serve the Tenant with a 14-Day Rent Demand
- After 14 days, if the rent remains unpaid the Landlord must properly serve the Tenant with a Petition and Notice of Petition to commence a Non-Payment Proceeding
The term “Holdover” is used generally to refer to any summary Eviction Proceeding brought on some basis other than Nonpayment of Rent. In a Holdover Proceeding, the Landlord seeks possession of the property after the termination of the tenancy. The two most common Holdover allegations Landlords make are:
- The lease term ended and despite receiving adequate notice of the Holdover, the tenant remains without the Landlord’s permission.
- The Landlord alleges the tenant violated a term of an unexpired lease and after receiving adequate notice of the violation the tenant refuses to stop violating the terms of the lease.
Your Landlord must provide sufficient notice of the expiration of your lease term. The amount of notice for an expired lease is based on the amount of time the tenant lived in the apartment. Tenancies lasting less than 1 year require 30 days’ notice, tenancies between 1-2 years require 60 days’ notice, while tenancies longer than 2 years require 90 days’ notice.
If a Landlord is alleging that you are in violation of a lease that has not expired they must state clearly why they believe you are in violation of the lease and thus provide you with 10 days to cure the alleged violation.
Once the notice period expires, the Landlord can go to court and seek an order of eviction if the tenant refuses to leave or failed to stop violating the terms of the lease as alleged in the notice .
What Happens Once Your Case Goes to Court
Once your case is in Court, your Landlord can press a money judgment against you for any rent owed under the lease or use and occupancy if you stayed past the end of your lease. It is important not to ignore court papers if you are planning to leave your apartment without paying, because you could end up with a judgment against you for an incorrect amount of money.
In addition to a money judgment, your Landlord will ask the Court for an order of possession. Only the Judge can issue an Order of Eviction removing you from the property and returning to the Landlord.
If the Judge issues an Order of Eviction, it will be given to the Marshal. The Marshal will then serve you with a notice giving you a minimum of 14 days to vacate. If you do not vacate, the Marshal will return and change the locks.
How to Stop or Delay an Eviction
Tenants can file an Order to Show Cause with the Court to seek more time before an eviction or to stop it all together. There are a lot of reasons why an Order To Show cause might get filed, for example if the tenant was never served with court papers or the required notices or the tenant now has the money to pay all the rent owed in a non-payment proceeding. Every case is different and you should speak to an attorney to determine if there is a basis to file an action to stop the eviction. For more information, please contact our office.