Renee J. Tello Legal Blog

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tenant Not Paying Rent, What’s Next?

 Many landlords come into my office after the tenant has stopped paying the rent for several months and ask what can I do?  Well the good news is there are options for landlords; the bad news is it takes time to resolve these types of issues.  A landlord has two options, they can initiate a non-payment action or a hold-over action in the Housing Part of the New York City Civil Court (Housing Court) in the borough in which they reside. 

A non-payment action is a demand for the rental arrears owed by the tenant.  This is the option utilized by landlords with tenants that have a valid unexpired lease or the landlord that is simply seeking the rent and not necessarily seeking to evict the tenant.  In a non-payment proceeding if the tenant pays what is owed then the tenant is permitted to remain in the premises.

A hold-over action is an action for eviction.  In a hold-over proceeding the landlord is seeking to evict the tenant and may request any outstanding rent.  However, a landlord may bring a hold-over action even if no rent is owed. The main inquiry in a hold-over proceeding is ensuring that there is no valid lease in place.  If the tenant has a valid lease the landlord is not permitted to bring an action for hold-over.

In the event that a tenant is not paying the rent or not adhering to the terms of their rental agreement it is important for the landlord to act immediately.  The reason that a landlord must act with urgency is because the legal process can be lengthy. For instance, in order to start a hold-over proceeding the landlord must serve the tenant with a 30 day termination notice.  In addition, the termination notice must be served before the 1st of the month if rent is due on the 1st of the month.  If the tenant does not move after the termination period then the case must be filed in the Housing Court.  In addition, once the case is processing in court it could be months before a resolution in made.  Therefore, it’s always best to initiate the court proceedings rather than entering into any agreement with the tenant outside of court.  When the landlord is in court they can enter in an agreement with the tenant to settle the case and give the tenant time to move; and the tenant can agree to a judgment of possession and agree to move out by a date certain.

For a more information call 718-978-9000 to schedule a consultation.

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