Whether you’re a landlord evicting a tenant or a tenant facing eviction, understanding the process can be both challenging and stressful. Since many landlord-tenant laws vary from state to state, it’s important to understand eviction laws in New York so you have a greater chance of success. That’s why we created this guide to help you understand everything you need to know about evictions in New York, including reasons to evict, how evictions work, and how to navigate them. Let’s get started.

Aside from the specifics, most evictions follow these basic steps:

Provide a written notice
Fill out the complaint forms
Serve the tenant
Attend trial
Final hearing

Every situation is uniquely based on the terms written in the lease/rental agreement signed at the beginning of the lease. This agreement typically outlines the rules and expectations for both tenant and landlord. While landlords are not required to have lease/rental agreements in New York, it’s always a good idea to have one to avoid mistakes down the road. 

Understanding the Eviction Process in New York

First, let’s go over evictions in more detail. An eviction is a legal process that occurs when a landlord requests to remove a tenant from the property before their lease is up (or after, in some cases). A tenant with a lease is protected from eviction during the lease period as long as they do not violate the lease or any laws. 

Reasons for Eviction

According to New York laws, a landlord must provide a written notice before they can begin the court filings. The notice must provide a reason for eviction. These are the most common reasons a landlord may evict:

  1. Failure to Pay Rent: In New York, a rent payment is considered late if it is received five days after the due date. On the sixth day, the landlords can provide the tenant with a 14-day notice to quit. This means the tenant has 14 days to pay the rent or move out. The landlord may also charge a late fee of no more than $50 or 5% of the monthly rent. If the tenant does not pay all missing payments in this timeframe, the landlord can then start eviction proceedings. Non-Renewal of the Lease: The landlord should provide the tenant with a written notice if they decide not to renew their lease after the lease term ends. If the tenant receives the notice and does not move out in the timeframe provided in the notice, the landlord can initiate the eviction process. If the tenant has been renting the property for two years or more, the notice must give the tenant 90 days to vacate.
  2. Violating the Lease Agreement: If a tenant violates terms written in the lease agreement, such as smoking in non-smoking areas, keeping unapproved pets, or damaging the property, the landlord can provide a written 30-day notice to quit. This gives the tenant thirty days to move out.
  3. Engaging in Illegal Behavior: In New York, if a tenant is involved in criminal activity on or near the premises, landlords are not obligated to provide a written notice.

As a landlord, it’s crucial to give tenants proper notice when applicable and provide a reason for eviction. This can help you avoid legal trouble. Remember, it is illegal for landlords to evict a tenant on their own using self-help methods.

How To File Evictions In New York

No matter the reason for eviction, a landlord cannot force a tenant off of the property by removing doors, changing locks, turning off water, etc. In order to avoid getting sued or losing an eviction case in court, there are state-specific steps landlords must follow: 

1. Provide a Written Notice

As mentioned above, landlords must first provide a formal notice of their intention before they can legally obtain possession of the property. This notice gives the tenant time to fix the situation if possible or move out. A written notice should provide the following:

  • Reason for eviction
  • Date the tenant must either rectify the issue (in the case of late payments or damage) or vacate the property

2. File a Complaint in Court

If the tenant does not move out or fix the situation after the correct amount of time has passed, the landlord can then file a complaint in the justice court where the property is located. The landlord must fill out several documents, including a notice of petition. The landlord will also be responsible for any court fees associated with filing the paperwork. This process takes anywhere from several weeks to several months. 

3. Serve the Tenant

After the notice of petition has been filed, the documents must be served to the tenant. The landlord cannot serve the tenant themselves. Instead, they can request a court official or process server use one of these options:

  • Personal Delivery: Served by giving a copy of the papers to the tenant.
  • Substituted Delivery: Given to the individual who answers the door, followed by a mailed copy of the papers one business day after.
  • Conspicuous Delivery: If unsuccessful, the server must try either of the above methods a second time at a different time period. If no one answers, they can place the papers in a conspicuous place in front of the home. This method must also be followed up with a mailed copy of the paperwork one business day later.

4. Wait for a Response

The paperwork must be served no later than ten days before the court hearing. While a response is not typically required in any state, in New York, the tenant must reply if they are being evicted for failure to pay rent. In this case, the tenant must reply to the court or pay their rent in full before the trial. If they do not respond or pay the rent, they risk losing the case to the landlord.

5. Attend the Court Hearing

During the trial, the landlord and tenant may share any clear and convincing evidence to support their case. Evidence to support claims may include copies of the following:

  • Lease/rental agreement
  • Payment receipts
  • Witnesses
  • Bank statements
  • Photo or video evidence of property damage or lease violations

If the landlord does not show up, the case is dismissed. If the tenant does not appear at the hearing, the landlord wins by default. 
After the trial, if the judge rules in favor of the landlord (either by default or based on evidence), the court will then request a Writ of Execution. This states that the motion for eviction can be initiated.

6. Eviction is Initiated

If a Writ of Execution is issued, the tenant must vacate the property by the requested date or risk being forced out by a sheriff. The time the tenant is given to move out of the property will depend on the reason for eviction.

7. Property is Repossessed

If the tenant is not out of the property by the expected date, a sheriff or authorized official can forcibly remove the tenant or lock them out of the property. The landlord cannot evict the tenant on their own, even if it is past the move-out period.

There are no specific laws regarding items left behind by the tenant. So, the best practice for landlords is to contact the tenant about anything left behind and provide a reasonable timeframe to retrieve the items. If the tenant does not claim their belongings in that timeframe, the landlord can donate, sell, or dispose of the items however they wish.

8. Additional Eviction Rules to Know

In New York City, a landlord cannot evict a tenant in a rental apartment if the tenant or the tenant’s spouse is a senior citizen or disabled unless the landlord provides an equal or better rental for the same or lower rent in the same area. Outside of New York City, a landlord cannot evict a senior citizen, disabled person, or anyone living in the rental for at least 20 years if the reason is owner occupancy.

New York Tenant Eviction Process Timeline

The eviction timelines in New York may vary depending on several factors, including type of eviction, court schedule, and the response of the tenant. This means the eviction can take anywhere from one month to several months. This timeline provides an estimated range:

Providing a Notice14-90 calendar days
Serving the Complaint10-17 business days
Tenant Response10 or fewer business days
Court Process10-20 business days
Final Move-out Period14 business days or fewer

If you need assistance during the eviction process, contact an attorney specializing in New York law for law advice.

Maintaining Good Records

The best time to keep track of proof of evidence is before the eviction process begins. Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, keeping good records can help you win your case in the event of a future eviction or lease-related lawsuit. Here are a few of our favorite organization tips:

  • Store Documents in a Safe Place: Use a personal drive, cloud storage, or property management software to securely store lease agreements, payment receipts, texts, maintenance requests, videos, pictures, invoices, and any other signed documents.
  • Backup your files with Google Drive or DropBox so you never lose important details when you need them most. 
  • Respond and Communicate Regularly: Provide evidence of being a compliant tenant or landlord by responding to any messages promptly and politely.


While renting or owning a rental in New York is a dream come true for many, it comes with significant responsibilities. Get to know the terms in your lease agreement as well as how the eviction laws in New York work, and you’ll be on the right track to a positive, secure rental experience. With all the tools and resources on your tool belt, you’ll be able to handle evictions with ease.

TenantCloud makes property management enjoyable, helping you screen new tenants, communicate with renters, and keep important records all in one place. Get started with a free 45-day trial today.


Can I remove tenants in New York?

No, landlords may face legal trouble if they attempt to force a tenant out themselves. Like many states, New York tenants can sue their landlords for damages, which could cost landlords who violate the process several thousands of dollars. To stay legally compliant, make sure to follow the eviction process and seek a lawyer for additional guidance.

What is illegal for landlords in New York?

Landlords cannot force a tenant out of the home by using violent threats, cutting off the tenant’s access to utilities, or changing the locks. 

How long must landlords keep tenant belongings in New York?

In New York, landlords should communicate with tenants and provide a reasonable time for them to retrieve any belongings left behind after they move out. If the tenant does not pick up the items by the expected timeframe, the landlord can sell, donate, or dispose of the belongings.