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What are my legal rights if my tenant has not paid rent for the month?

As a landlord, you expect that your tenant will pay you rent on or before the day it is due.  Late rent could impact your finances.  Legally, New York tenants have the right to take action if the rent is a certain number of days past due.  Dealing with tenants that are delinquent on their rent can be complex.  Landlords will want to consult with a real estate law attorney for assistance with pursing eviction or otherwise handling the nonpayment of rent.

Your Lease Governs

Your lease will prove critical to any landlord-tenant dispute.  In your lease, you should set out the amount of rent, where the rent is due, and when the rent is due.  Your lease should also describe the consequences for late or nonpayment of rent, including late fees and termination of the tenancy.

In addition to your lease, state and county laws will further guide your legal rights when it comes to nonpayment of rent. Under New York law, your rent will be considered late if it is still unpaid after the date due on the lease.  You must give your tenant three days notice to pay rent or vacate the premises.  If your tenant does neither, then you can start eviction proceedings.

Eviction for nonpayment is known as a nonpayment summary proceeding.  You will need to file a notice of a petition for a nonpayment proceeding and notice of a nonpayment petition seeking to recover possession of the property.  You will need to pay a filing fee and be prepared to appear in court.  Eviction proceedings are often unpleasant, but nonpayment proceedings should progress smoothly with the help of your real estate lawyer.

Rental Control or Rent Stabilization Properties

If you own a property covered by rent control or rent stabilization, different rules for the nonpayment of rent may apply.  Millions of properties within New York are covered by state or local rent regulation.  Rules governing rent control and stabilization are complex and ever changing.  As such, you will want to contact an experienced real estate law attorney for help with remedying your rent controlled tenant’s failure to pay rent.