During an eviction it may seem like the landlord has all the power, but the truth is tenants have rights even now. Those rights begin as soon as you have lived in the same place for 30 days or more, even if you did not sign a lease or are not a named party on the lease. If you sign a lease, you have immediate protections.
An eviction starts with a Notice of Petition which offers the time, date, and place that a court hearing has been scheduled and the reasons why the landlord wants to evict the tenant. This could be for nonpayment of rent, or for violation of some lease term.
All paperwork must be served properly to alert you that you’re being sued. They must make at least two attempts at personal delivery before leaving papers at your door and then send them both by regular and certified mail.
Landlords do not automatically win eviction cases.
You May Stay Until the Landlord Wins
The landlord may not change the locks, padlock your doors, throw out your property, turn off your utilities, remove your door, or threaten to do anything else that keeps you out of your home or apartment.
They must win the case and they must have law enforcement take you out of the apartment. If they do anything else they are violating your rights and are committing a Class A misdemeanor.
A Notice to Pay or Quit is not an eviction. It is a 14 day notice asking the tenant to either pay up or move out. It offers grounds for an eviction lawsuit, but does not compel you to leave the apartment yet. If a lease violation is the problem then they offer a Notice to Cure instead.
The Tenant Safe Harbor Act
The Tenant Safe Harbor Act applies when landlords are attempting to evict someone for rent that was due during the pandemic but which cannot be paid due to a financial hardship. It allows tenants to seek the court’s protection.
While this protection is applying to fewer and fewer tenants, it’s still worth knowing about.
There Are Plenty of Defenses for Eviction
You should always consult with an eviction attorney before vacating the apartment. While it may be a good strategic decision to go ahead and move out, there are times when this is not the case.
Find out how a New York Landlord Tenant Lawyer can help.
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