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What are my legal rights if my tenant stops paying rent?

Being a landlord can be a difficult job.  If your tenant has broken the rules of the lease or failed to pay rent on a timely basis, you may need to pursue an eviction.  While the word eviction sounds daunting, with the assistance of a real estate attorney and some basic knowledge about the eviction process, you can remove the noncomplying tenant so that you can re-rent the property as soon as possible.  Take a look at the following overview of the steps to an eviction in New York and contact our real estate lawyers at The Law Firm of Merlino & Gonzalez for assistance with evicting your tenant.

When You Can Evict a Tenant?

Under New York law, a tenant can be evicted for several potential reasons.  The most common grounds for an eviction is failure to pay rent.  Your lease will set the amount of rent and the day that it is due, which is generally on the first of the month.  If your tenant has not paid rent within the time frame spelled out in the lease, you may need to explore eviction.
You can also evict a tenant for violating the terms of the lease.  Each lease is unique, but often evictions will stem from a tenant harboring a pet that is not allowed by the lease, violating noise ordinances, allowing too many people to live in the home, and the like.

Notice for Termination with Cause

In order to legally start the eviction process in New York, you must first provide the tenant with notice of their violation. For tenants that have not paid rent, you will need to give the tenant a three-day notice to pay rent or quit.  The tenant will then have three days to pay the rent owed or move out of the home.  If the tenant fails to pay or move, you can then file an eviction action in court.

When the eviction is based on the tenant’s violation of the lease, you will need to give the tenant a notice to cure and notice of termination.  The tenant will be offered ten days to correct the lease violation.  If he or she fails to correct the issue, you can then file for eviction.

Landlords must take care to follow the eviction proceedings required by the specific court in which you file.  Evictions can be challenging and any landlord pursuing an eviction should consult with a real estate lawyer for assistance.