Jeff McAdams' Tenant Protection Tips

How to combat a landlord who tries
to grab your apartment for himself…

The landlord wants to throw you out in the street. At least that’s what the papers you were served say, in not so many words. He may be able to do it too. Fortunately, you have defenses…

A landlord who purchases a building is required to uphold the rights of all rent-stabilized tenants. However, there is a provision in the law that allows a “personal use holdover.” This is a legal proceeding that permits landlords to evict rent-stabilized tenants, if the apartment is for the owner’s personal use, or the personal use of an immediate family member.

There are a number of legal options for tenants who are defending themselves in personal use holdover proceedings. Here are the most common ones:

  • First, for a landlord to have this right, the property must be in the owner’s name, and not owned through a legal entity, such as a corporation or partnership. Many landlords are reluctant to do this, since it exposes them to personal liability. You can research your building’s ownership though public records. If the deed is not in the individual owner’s name, citing this fact in court is an easy way to defeat the eviction proceeding.
  • Second, the landlord or family member must prove intention to live in the unit for at least three years. A knowledgeable Tenants’ attorney can help you challenge this.
  • And third, if you or your spouse is over 62 or disabled, you must be offered an apartment of at least similar size and quality in the neighborhood, at the same rent or lower. Finding one is generally a costly proposition for the landlord, and when this defense is raised, it may result in him or her discontinuing the entire effort to evict you.

If you receive papers threatening eviction through a personal use holdover, it’s not a good idea to proceed without professional representation. Unlike some Landlord Tenant issues in which tenants attempt to represent themselves, this particular circumstance is far more dangerous. The landlord does have grounds to evict if the legal requirements are met, and you stand a chance of losing your home. Even if you’re financially strapped, it’s better to scrape together the money to retain a competent Tenant’s attorney to protect you.

Please Note: Every McAdams Law Tenant Protection Tip and article is for informational purposes only and cannot substitute for legal advice. Before taking action, consult an experienced New York Landlord Tenant attorney about your situation. Beware that being a party in a lawsuit in New York City’s Housing Court can subject you to blacklisting. Please see more details here.

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McAdams Law
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New York, NY 10007
212-406-5145
Fax: (212) 619-0714

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