Tenant Defenses to an Eviction Action in NY

Do I have a defense against eviction if I owe rent?

New York law allows a landlord to evict a tenant for not paying rent or violating the terms of the lease.  For a tenant, being served with eviction papers can be frightening and intimidating.  New York tenants facing eviction will need to take prompt action and secure the help of a real estate litigation attorney if they intend to contest or delay the eviction.

Grounds for Residential Tenant Eviction in NY

There are several grounds on which a residential landlord in New York can seek to evict a tenant.  The most common ground is nonpayment of rent.  To evict a tenant for not paying rent, the landlord must give the tenant a notice or demand for payment.  The notice provides the tenant with three days to either pay the rent or vacate the home.  If the tenant fails to pay rent after three days, then the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings in court.  It is important to note that the landlord cannot attempt to retake possession of the home by him or herself without a court order.

Alternatively, an eviction may be based on violation of the lease.  For this type of eviction, a landlord must provide the tenant with a ten-day notice to allow the tenant to cure the violation.  If the violation persists, the landlord must then serve a notice of termination of the lease that gives the tenant at least 30 days to move.

Defending Against an Eviction

Tenants have several options for contesting an eviction.  For evictions based on non-payment of rent or violation of a lease term, a tenant can counter with the following:

  • Satisfaction of rent: If during the three-day notice period you in fact paid the past due rent amount, then the landlord does not have the right to proceed with the eviction.  A tenant that pays rent should bring receipt of payment to the eviction hearing.
  • Failure to maintain the rental: New York law requires landlords to maintain the home in habitable condition.  If the landlord fails to make needed major repairs, then the tenant may withhold rent.  The tenant should provide notice of the repairs in writing.  If the landlord attempts to evict you, you can contest the action through evidence of the needed repairs and your proper notice.
  • Violations fixed: Tenants charged with violating the lease can defend the action through proof that the violation was cured, or evidence that a violation never in fact existed.

Contact a landlord-tenant litigation attorney for more assistance with defending against an eviction action in New York.

Posted in: Real Estate Litigation