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.




Is Your Landlord Following the Law?

Trust is hard to come by these days. For those of us that are currently renting or who want to start renting, we want to be able to confidently believe that the landlord is always right. We automatically assume that the landlord should have a better understanding of leasing and renting laws than we do. So we sign all hope over to them and in return we expect a decent and respectful landlord tenant relationship. Some of us unfortunately find when it comes to landlord and tenant issues, the landlord may be doing some things illegally-deliberately or even unintentionally. How can you make sure that your landlord is following the law?

In New York State, renting is incredibly common, especially in the boroughs and City of New York. Where renting is occurring, so is discrimination and unfair housing practices. Listed below are a few of the most common ways in which landlords illegally take advantage of the landlord-tenant relationship.


Just like Employment discrimination works, Housing Discrimination laws are based on the same rules. Racial, gender, and sexual discrimination is completely illegal. If your landlord asks you any questions about your orientation, immigration status, mental health or rehabilitation status, he may be pushing the privacy limit. Landlords are only allowed to collect information in regards to the tenant’s financial condition to ensure that the rent will be paid. Believe it or not, even asking about family or children may be crossing the line—The lines get blurry and that is when a lawyer would probably be best to contact if a problem arises.

Illegal Evictions

In New York, especially Long Island, illegal evictions are all too common. The major rule when it comes to eviction in NY is that you must evict within ninety days. However, there are certain exceptions to that rule in which the landlord gets the upper hand. For example, if you have illegal substances or paraphernalia in your apartment, your landlord may have the right to get you out of there sooner. But when it has to do with non-payment situations, state and federal law pursue a long drawn out process which could take months before a tenant can be evicted.


If you are evicted and have left the apartment while the lease is still in effect, you are allowed to get your property. The landlord cannot refuse you or change the locks. There are stern laws which protect your right to collect your belongings when you move out.

If you feel you are facing or have faced a situation involving housing discrimination, illegal eviction, or even theft by your landlord, call the Law Offices of David Witkon today.