State Evictions

New York Eviction Process

November 3, 2023

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Eviction In New York

If you own and rent properties in the state of New York, you are responsible for complying with New York eviction laws. In this article, we break down each step of the legal eviction process in New York. 

New York’s eviction laws can be found at NY RPA Code § 701-768 

Note that eviction in New York City and other municipalities may differ, as cities often have additional laws and rules governing the eviction process. 

Eviction Process in New York 

  1. Landlord serves an eviction notice. 
  1. Landlord files an eviction lawsuit with the court. 
  1. Court serves tenant a summons. 
  1. Tenant files an answer. 
  1. Landlord and tenant attend court hearing and receive judgment. 
  1. Tenant gets 14 days to move out. 
  1. Sheriff arrives to forcibly remove the tenant. 

In New York, tenants can be evicted for any of the following reasons: 

  • Holding over after the lease expires 
  • Defaulting in the payment of rent 
  • Defaulting in payments of any taxes or assessments levied on the premises which the tenant agreed to pay (for tenants in cities) 
  • Taking the benefit of an insolvency statute (legal benefits during a financial issue) or being officially declared bankrupt, for tenancies of three years or less 
  • Using the property for the purposes of prostitution, illegal trade/manufacturing, or any other illegal business 
  • Removing the batteries, disconnecting, or making inoperable a smoke or fire detector (in cities with populations over one million people) 

(NY RPA Code § 711). 

Note: In New York law, the term “Holdover Tenant” refers to any tenant who is residing in a property unlawfully for any reason besides nonpayment—including violating the lease, becoming a nuisance to neighbors, engaging in illegal activity, or staying in the unit after the lease ends. 

1. Landlord Serves an Eviction Notice 

The first step in the eviction process in New York is to send a formal eviction notice. If any of the above lease violations occur, the landlord must first serve a New York eviction notice and state that the tenant has the appropriate number of days to remedy or cure the violation. There are three possible eviction notices a landlord may send in New York: 

  • Rent Demand Notice: 14 days to pay or quit. If rent is unpaid when due, the landlord must deliver this notice stating the amount of unpaid rent required to remedy the breach and the date on which the lease will terminate if it is not paid (not less than 14 days after receipt of the notice) (NY RPA Code § 711(2)).
  • Holdover Notices (NYcourts.gov) 
    • Notice to Cure: 10 Days. If a tenant violates a lease term other than nonpayment (e.g., damaging the property or refusing the owner access to make repairs) or remains in the unit unlawfully for any reason, the landlord must first deliver a Notice to Cure, specifying the breach, informing the tenant what must be done to remedy it, and that it must be fixed within ten days. 
    • Termination Notice: 30 Days. If the tenant does not cure the breach within ten days, the landlord may send a Termination Notice informing the tenant that the lease will terminate in 30 days and that they must move out by that date. The Termination Notice does not provide an additional opportunity to fix the problem. 
    • Notice to Quit: 10 days. Landlords should send this notice when there is someone living in the property they did not rent to (i.e., a squatter or licensee, a guest of the tenant who moved in without the landlord’s permission). 
  • Unconditional Notice to Quit: Immediate. This notice gives no opportunity to “cure” the violation and applies if the tenant uses the property for illegal purposes, such as prostitution or illegal trade/manufacturing (NY RPA Code § 711(5)). 

Landlords who own properties in rent-controlled areas are sometimes required to provide notice to the New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) before evicting a tenant. If your property is rent-controlled and you wish to evict a tenant for any reason besides nonpayment, you must give written notice to the DHCR District/Borough Rent Office within 48 hours after serving a Notice of Termination to the tenant. You must file an exact copy of the notice with an affidavit of service with the District/Borough Rent Office. 

2. Landlord Files an Eviction Lawsuit with the Court 

If the tenant has not cured the breach by the end of the notice period (or if the violation is uncurable and the notice period expires), the landlord can then file a Petition for Special Proceedings (the eviction lawsuit). In New York, the following courts have jurisdiction over evictions, depending on which county the property is located in: New York County Courts, the court of a police justice of the village, New York Justice Courts, a court of civil jurisdiction in a city, and New York District courts. The landlord should file the proceeding with the court that has jurisdiction over evictions where the rental property is located, depending on the county (NY RPA Code § 701). 

The petition (eviction lawsuit) will include the following information as per NY RPA Code § 741

  • The landlord’s interest in the premises 
  • The tenant’s interest in the premises and relationship to the landlord 
  • A description of the premises 
  • The facts upon which the eviction is based 
  • The relief the landlord seeks (e.g., a judgment for rent due, the fair use/occupancy of the premises, etc.). Note that the landlord cannot seek any charges or fees besides rent in a summary proceeding action (NY RPA Code § 702). 
  • For properties in the city of Albany, proof of compliance with any local law requiring the registration of the property as a condition of legal rental 

3. Court Serves Tenant a Summons 

After the landlord files the petition, the court will issue a summons demanding the tenant’s presence in court. In New York, this summons is called a Notice of Petition, and it specifies the date, time, and place of the eviction hearing. It will also inform the tenant that if they do not attend the hearing to establish any defense, they may be prevented from asserting that defense and a default judgment may be awarded to the landlord (NY RPA Code § 731(2)).  

Service of Summons 

For most eviction cases (except for nonpayment cases provided in NY RPA Code § 732), the notice of petition must be served between ten and seventeen days before the hearing. The petition and notice of petition must be served by an adult who is not part of the case, in one of the following manners as per NY RPA Code § 735

  • Personal service to the tenant (but not on Sundays or on the tenant’s religious observance days) 
  • Leaving it with someone residing or working at the rental unit AND mailing a copy by regular first class and certified mail 
  • Posting the documents on a conspicuous place at the premises or sliding them underneath the front door AND mailing copies via regular first class and certified mail. 

The Notice of Petition, Order to Show Cause, Petition for Special Proceedings, and proof of service must be filed with the court within three days afterwards (NY RPA Code § 735(2)). In certain nonpayment cases that follow special provisions, the Notice of Petition (summons) and other documentation must be returnable before the clerk within ten days after its service (NY RPA Code § 732). 

In Westchester County, if it is required by local law, the landlord also needs to have the petition and summons served on the county commissioner of social services. This service should be made at least five days before the return date for the notice of petition, and it should be made via certified mail (return receipt requested), directed to the address listed in local law or civil practice law and rules (NY RPA Code § 734). 

4. Tenant Files an Answer 

After receiving the summons to court, the tenant is given an opportunity to file an answer in court. They may do so orally (in which way the clerk, judge, or justice will record it) or in writing. It will include any legal or equitable defense or counterclaim against the landlord’s claim (NY RPA Code § 743). 

During this time, the tenant has a chance to stop the eviction, for nonpayment cases only, by paying the full amount of rent due before the hearing (NY RPA Code § 731(4)). 

In New York, there are also a set of additional rules that may apply in some nonpayment proceedings. If a particular court enforces the special provisions in NY RPA Code § 732, then the following apply: 

  • If the tenant submits an answer, the hearing will be held between three and eight days after. 
  • If the tenant does not answer within ten days of being served the summons, a default judgment will be granted to the landlord and the issuance of the warrant cannot be stayed longer than ten days. 

5. Landlord and Tenant Attend Court Hearing and Receive Judgment 

Eviction cases in New York will typically be tried by the court, unless either party requests a jury trial. Either party can also request to adjourn the trial for 14 days, which will occur only if everyone agrees and gives consent for the continuance. Second or subsequent requests for adjournments will only be granted at the discretion of the court (NY RPA Code § 745(1)). 

On the day of the eviction hearing, the landlord should bring copies of the lease agreement, the eviction notice with proof of service, the complaint, and any evidence of the lease violation. Both the landlord and tenant will present their cases and any evidence to the judge, who will afterwards issue a judgment. If the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, a judgment will be entered including any money awarded for rent and the costs of the special proceeding (NY RPA Code § 747). The court will also issue a Warrant for Possession to authorize the tenant’s removal from the rental unit.  

Note that for nonpayment cases, the issuance of the warrant cannot be stayed for more than five days (NY RPA Code § 732). 

6. Tenant Gets 14 Days to Move Out 

The Warrant for Possession will be directed to the sheriff of the county or another constable or marshal of the city. The warrant will state the earliest date on which the tenant will be removed from the rental unit. The sheriff is required to give the tenant at least 14 days’ notice in writing before executing the warrant (NY RPA Code § 749(1-2a)). The tenant must move out within the 14 days or else they will be forcibly removed. 

The tenant may request the court to “stay” or delay the eviction for a reasonable period of time, but only by showing good cause (NY RPA Code § 749(1)).  

7.  Sheriff Arrives to Forcibly Remove the Tenant 

If the tenant has not moved out at the end of the 14 days, the sheriff will return to forcibly remove the tenant. The sheriff can only do so on a business day between sunrise and sunset, and they must also check the premises for the presence of any pets and discuss the proper care of any animals with the tenant (NY RPA Code § 749(2)(a-b)). 

For nonpayment cases, the court can still vacate (cancel) the warrant if the tenant deposits the full rent due with the court at any time prior to the sheriff returning (NY RPA Code § 749(3)). 

Evicting a Squatter in New York 

A squatter is a person who moves into a vacant or abandoned property without getting permission from the owner or paying rent. Squatters can usually be charged as criminal trespassers and be evicted like any other tenant. However, some squatters can receive the right to possession by meeting certain state-determined criteria. In New York, squatters must have lived in the property with color of title for 10 continuous years to invoke New York squatters rights and claim right of possession (NY RPA Code § 511). The squatter may also be required to pay property taxes on the land.

A squatter’s possession must also be: 

  • Hostile/Adverse—The squatter must not have a valid lease with the owner 
  • Actual—The squatter must be actively residing on the property 
  • Open and Notorious—The squatter is openly and obviously living there. 
  • Exclusive—The squatter does not share possession of the property with anyone else.  
  • Continuous—The squatter must hold continuous and uninterrupted possession. 

Note: New York City has different laws on squatter’s rights that specifically apply to the city. If your property falls within NYC jurisdiction, a squatter could claim it after only thirty consecutive days of occupation. This means NYC property owners must be especially vigilant to avoid adverse possession disputes.

While relatively rare, if a squatter meets all these criteria, they have “color of title”: the right of legal ownership without having a written deed to the property. They can file an action for adverse possession in New York to legally obtain the title to the property. However, in most cases, a squatter will not meet the criteria and can be removed. If you think a squatter is living in your vacant property in New York, you should: 

  1. Call local law enforcement. 
  1. Determine whether the person is a trespasser or a squatter. 
  1. If the person is a trespasser, they can be removed immediately by a police officer. 
  1. If the person is a squatter, you must contact the sheriff’s office. 
  1. Send the squatter a 10-day eviction notice as per New York eviction law (NY RPA Code § 713(3)). 
  1. If the squatter does not vacate the premises by the end of the notice period, file for eviction and follow the typical eviction process. 
  1. Only the sheriff can physically remove a squatter from your property. You cannot do so, and neither can a police officer. 

New York Eviction Cost Estimates 

This chart shows estimates of the approximate cost of an eviction in New York, according to civil procedure in the state and iPropertyManagement. A highly accurate estimate of an eviction is impossible to provide, as cases and circumstances vary so widely. Remember to factor in other losses due to an eviction as well, such as lost rent, time, and stress. 

Action Approximate Cost (Justice Court) Approximate Cost (District/City Court) Approximate Cost (Town/Village) 
Filing fee $20 $45 $20 
Service of court summons (Notice of Petition) by sheriff $15, plus mileage $15, plus mileage $15, plus mileage 
Execution/service of warrant of possession $75, plus mileage $75, plus mileage $75, plus mileage 
Notice of appeal filing fee $5 $30 $5 
Legal fees $500-$10,000 $500-$10,000 $500-$10,000 
Average locksmith fees $160 $160 $160 
Storage fees for abandoned property Varies Varies Varies 
Tenant turnover costs Varies Varies Varies 

New York Eviction Time Estimates 

The chart below shows an estimate of the duration of each part of the eviction process. Keep in mind that the length of eviction cases varies widely depending on the complexity of the eviction, the court’s current caseload, and whether or not the tenant contests or appeals the lawsuit.  

Action Duration 
Eviction notice period 0-14 days 
Service of summons 10-17 days before the hearing; 10 days for special nonpayment cases 
Tenant response period Any time before the hearing; within 10 days for special nonpayment cases 
Eviction hearing  3-8 days after the tenant Answers 
Maximum continuance 14 days 
Issuance of warrant of possession Unspecified 
Time to quit after writ is posted 14 days 
 Total  1-5 months 

Additional Resources 

Conclusion 

The eviction process in any state can be long and complex, so hiring an eviction attorney is advised in most cases. It’s also important to note that municipalities and local governments often have stricter laws and requirements for landlords, so be sure to check local statutes as well as state ones. However, by reviewing the legal procedures and New York laws on eviction, you can feel more confident pursuing an eviction in this state. 

Innago does not provide legal advice. The content and materials provided in this article are for general informational purposes only and may not be the most up-to-date information. 

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