Evicting Non-Paying Tenants

Something most landlords dread is the process of evicting non-paying tenants. Without good information, a landlord may unknowingly violate the law in an effort to recoup his losses. In order to protect the rights of all involved, the process of eviction is quite complicated.

Demand for Payment

Before a landlord can start court proceedings against a tenant, he must first present the tenant with a demand for payment of the past due rent. While the demand may be made orally, it is usually best to submit it in writing. A landlord is not allowed to give this notice directly to a tenant. He must use a representative — either a process server or another person who meets certain qualifications. There are also specific guidelines as to when and how the notice must be served. Once the demand has been correctly delivered, the landlord must wait three days before beginning court proceedings.

Initiating the Nonpayment Summary Proceeding

The next step in the process of evicting non-paying tenants in the state of New York is to file two forms with the court. The first is called a Notice of Petition: Nonpayment Proceeding and the second is a Nonpayment Petition to Recover Possession of Real Property. Once these papers are submitted to the court and the fee is paid, the court clerk will assign a docket number and a date on which the case will be heard. Copies of these papers must then be delivered to the tenant using the same method described above.

The Court Date

In the actual court case, the landlord should present evidence of nonpayment including rental receipts, a copy of the lease, etc. The tenant may also try to bring evidence that rent has been paid or that it has been withheld for a legitimate reason. The judge will examine all the evidence, listen to the arguments, and make a decision. If the judge accepts the claims of the landlord, he will give a Judgment.

The Actual Eviction

The Judgment gives the landlord the right to evict the tenant and take back possession of the property. However, a landlord cannot personally evict a tenant. Instead, he must obtain a Warrant of Eviction, and then ask a law-enforcement officer to perform the actual eviction. 72 hours of notice must be given to the tenant before he is evicted.

As can be seen from this brief overview, the process of evicting non-paying tenants is very complex. If any of these forms are filled out incorrectly, not filed properly with the court, or imperfectly served on the tenant, the case for eviction may be completely dismissed. For this reason, it is wise to use the services of a lawyer when attempting to evict a tenant. If you are a landlord in this situation, contact the law office of David Witkon today for a free consultation.