If you are a landlord in New York and you are struggling with the never-ending eviction moratoriums, there are some things you need to know.
When does that latest round of eviction moratoriums end?
While the original CDC and federal government eviction moratorium ended a few months ago, New York State’s moratorium doesn’t end until January 15, 2022.
Does this mean I can’t evict a tenant until next year?
Not necessarily. The NYS eviction Moratorium is ONLY for tenants who cannot pay their rent due to COVID related issues (loss of job, illness, taking care of family). Otherwise, all other reasons for legal eviction still apply.
What can I do if my tenant can’t pay the rent because of COVID?
New York State still has millions of dollars available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). ERAP provides income-qualified renters and landlords struggling with financial hardship due to COVID-19 up to 12 months back rent and up to three months future rent. Utility cost assistance is also available in some cases. For more information and to apply, click here https://nysrenthelp.otda.ny.gov/en/
What do I do if my tenant just stopped paying rent without a good reason?
Some tenants may have mistaken the eviction moratoriums as a reason to stop paying any rent at all. If they do not fit the requirements for ERAP aid, then they can be treated as any standard non-paying tenant.
My tenant was fine until they stopped paying. What can I do to get my money?
If you simply want the money that is due to you and don’t mind them staying, you can start a “non-payment action.” You would need to serve your tenant with a “14 Day Rent Demand” (you can’t simply just tell them or hand them a letter). In this document you will need to tell the tenant that an eviction proceeding will start if the rent owed is not paid with 14 days. Until this document is sent (and received by the renter), you won’t be able to start the eviction process.
My tenant is also doing things the lease prohibits. Now what?
If the tenant is damaging the property or is doing anything against the agreements in the lease, you must serve a “Notice to Cure” – a document detailing what you want them to stop doing and a reasonable deadline to fix things. If the deadline passes without the problem being “cured”, you then need to serve the tenant a “Termination Notice” noting a deadline for them to leave the property.
What do I do if my tenant ignores all these Demands and Notices?
That’s when your local Landlord Lawyer comes in handy. Together, you can file an eviction notice with your local court. With the right legal representation, you should win a “Judgment of Possession and Warrant of Eviction”, which will allow local law enforcement to intervene and remove the tenant from the property.
Can’t I just turn off the utilities and change the locks?
New York is a tenant-friendly state. As a landlord you must follow multiple regulations, and if at any point you skip or ignore the rules, you’ll end up on the wrong side of the law. It’s illegal in New York to try and force tenant to move.
I need to do something. Who do I call?
Call a lawyer who works specifically New York Landlord-Tenant Litigation.
Ron Weiss has been handling these types of cases for years. He can guide you through the process, handle all the paperwork, and if things end up in court, he will be there on your side. Call him at 631-271-3737 for a free consultation on what is the best way to get the resolution you want.
For more information on New York State and New York City laws, check out Fact Sheet #32 – Eviction, from the NYS Department of Homes and Community Renewal. https://hcr.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/05/fact-sheet-32-05-2021.pdf