When you receive an eviction notice, your landlord accuses you of one of two things. The landlord is either claiming you did not pay the rent, or they’re claiming you violated the lease. 

In New York, it is possible to challenge an eviction on many grounds, but you’ll have to move fast. You’ll need help from a New York real estate lawyer. 

Here are the most common defenses.

Lack of Notice

Landlords aren’t allowed to just send an eviction notice out of the blue.

If you’ve violated the lease, they must provide an individual with a 10-day notice offering them the chance to fix the violation. If they fail to fix the violation, they should be given 30 days to leave the property before the landlord may file an eviction.

If the problem is non-payment of rent, the landlord must give a 14-day notice. Again, you should be given the chance to bring your account up to date. In addition, notice may show you there’s a problem. 

For example, perhaps the landlord changed the payment address and didn’t tell you. You might be able to prove that you’ve been paying those payments all along. 

If you’ve tried to pay the rent repeatedly and the landlord hasn’t accepted it, you may be able to avoid eviction on those grounds, too. You could also show the landlord is demanding the wrong rental amount. 

Self-Help Eviction

In New York, landlords aren’t allowed to simply shut off your utilities or change the locks. A landlord is also prohibited from harassing, threatening, or abusing you. 

If they do, you can sue your landlord for damages. 

Latches Claim

In this claim, the landlord was aware of the situation and delayed addressing it for some time without any good reason for doing so. If the claim goes “stale,” you may have a defense.

For example, the landlord already knew you had a cat, violating the lease, but didn’t do anything about it until nine months later. It may be possible to show that the landlord essentially gave you after-the-fact permission by failing to do anything about the animal. 

Habitability Counterclaims

In some cases, a landlord’s failure to maintain the property in a fashion that makes it fit for human habitation can undermine an eviction for non-payment. There may also be a defense if the landlord fails to maintain conditions bargained for between parties but not required by law. 

It’s not a good idea to just stop paying rent in response to a habitability issue. You should work with a landlord-tenant lawyer to address the problem and collect your damages long before you find yourself in eviction court if at all possible. Nevertheless, you may be entitled to rent abatement for the entire period for which the condition existed, up to six years. The landlord must have constructive notice of the existence of the condition. 


It is illegal for a New York landlord to evict a tenant on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, disability, creed, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or military status.

If you can prove the landlord is discriminating against you, you may be able to avoid the eviction.

Get Help Today

If you’re facing an eviction, you have no time to lose. Contact McAdams Law to get help today. 

See also:

Turn Up the Heat: Your Landlord’s Obligations to Heat Your Apartment 

What Are Your Rights During an NYC Eviction

What Happens When Your NYC Landlord Sells Your Apartment Building? 

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