fail to pay rent

What Can a Landlord Do When a Tenant Fails to Pay Rent in NY?

When a tenant does not pay rent, they can be evicted. However, there are rules about this and a landlord cannot simply kick a tenant out in New York. There is a procedure to follow and landlords who do not follow the rules can end up in legal trouble. If you are a tenant, you should be aware of this process too. Here’s what you need to know, straight from an experienced nonpayment defense lawyer in NYC.

What Can I Do When a Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent?

It’s understandable that a landlord would act when a tenant does not pay rent. Landlords want to make money, and a tenant that does not pay is not a desirable one. They cannot simply remove someone for nonpayment though.

First, a landlord must send a tenant a notice or notify them in person about the late rent. They must tell them what the balance is and that they will be kicked out if they do not pay. Then the landlord can file a nonpayment proceeding in Housing Court and serve the tenant with papers if they do not pay within that time.

A court date will be assigned and both sides get to tell their story. If the court finds in favor of the landlord, they can have the tenant evicted.

What Actions Are Illegal During This Process?

A landlord absolutely must go through the above process and make their case in court if they want to evict someone and that tenant does not leave of their own volition. What a landlord cannot do is lock out the tenant themselves. This is often called a “self-help” eviction. A landlord who locks a tenant out without going through the proper process can be sued for damages.

Are There Valid Reasons to Not Pay Rent?

A landlord also has to be sure that there is not a valid reason for the tenant to withhold rent. A tenant can sometimes be in the right even if they do not pay rent as originally agreed.

A few situations can warrant this. NYC landlords are required to provide heat and hot water for tenants. If the supply of heat or hot water is cut off for an extended period of time, that might be enough reason for the tenant to stop paying their rent. The landlord is not living up to their side of the deal and providing a habitable dwelling.

A tenant can also withhold rent when there are major issues with the apartment that the landlord has not fixed. Water damage, fire damage, and a bug infestation are all valid reasons not to pay rent and a landlord cannot try to evict a tenant over this.

Contact a Rent Dispute Attorney

If you have any kind of rent dispute with your landlord, contact Robert Rosenblatt & Associates. We have experience working with residential and commercial tenants. We will advocate for you and ensure that you are not taken advantage of by a landlord who does not follow the rules.

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