Common Disputes Between New York Landlords and Tenants

How common are landlord-tenant problems in New York? In 2017 alone, approximately 230,071 eviction petitions were filed at the New York Housing Court. By 2018, over 19,000 apartments in New York saw tenants being evicted from their rental homes.

These statistics on residential evictions in New York offer a glimpse at how widespread disputes between landlords and tenants are. Evictions, however, are just one of the many other issues that lead to landlord-tenant problems in New York.

Below are some of the common disputes that exist in residential tenancy:

1. Evictions

This is easily the most common and biggest cause of conflict between landlords and tenants. Most evictions are because of late and non-payment of rent. Other reasons are unruly behavior, violation of the rental contract, and upcoming development plans. We’ll discuss these further below.

Evictions are complicated because tenancy laws in New York lean towards protecting the rights of the tenants. For example, residential tenants in New York have the following rights:

  • Tenants may not be evicted within their lease period if they haven’t committed any major violation to their lease contract or any local housing codes.
  • If tenants violated provisions in their leases and are bound for eviction, landlords must give them a 10-day notice during which the tenants may fix the issue. If they succeed, the landlord may no longer file a motion for eviction at the Housing Court.
  • If the tenants failed to fix the issue within the 10-day window, the landlord must then give a 30-day notice of termination. This is to give tenants time to look for a new place to rent and move all of their belongings out of their apartment.
  • If the tenants do not leave within 30 days, the landlord must then file an eviction notice with the Housing Council and follow the legal process of removing non-paying tenants from the premises.
  • Tenants may also counter the eviction proceedings filed by landlords if they have valid grounds, like if they’ve already paid their remaining debt in full or the landlord did not follow proper eviction procedures.

2. Retaliation

Let’s suppose that a tenant successfully blocked a landlord’s eviction proceedings because they were able to pay their due rent within the 10-day window. Or, a tenant brought up a complaint against the property manager because the latter failed in their duty to ensure the cleanliness and safety of the apartment complex.

Tenants exercising their rights can sometimes trigger a retaliatory response from landlords, and this can be a cause for dispute between the two. It bears mentioning that in New York, there is a presumption of retaliation if a tenant receives an eviction notice within six months of exercising their legal right.

3. Property Maintenance

apartment interior

Landlords are expected to ensure that the facilities the tenants pay for are in excellent condition. If there are issues with water, heating, ventilation, and structural factors that are beyond the tenants’ responsibility, landlords are expected to address them as quickly as possible.

Tenants are also expected to keep their rental units clean and well cared for — a responsibility that’s often included in their contract. If they let the unit they’re renting fall into disrepair, their landlords can charge them for the cost of the damage and still send them packing due to contract violation.

4. Disruption and Disregard of Community Rules

Causing major disturbances in an apartment building is cause for major disagreements between neighbors as well as tenants and landlords. Unruly tenants who ignore the civil and respectful warnings of their neighbors and landlords will inevitably get complaints and an eventual notice for eviction.

It is part of a landlord’s duty to ensure the peace and safety of the tenants, and that may include imposing fines and evicting the people who repeatedly violate house rules and disregard the community’s peace and safety. If, however, the offending tenant resists the sanctions and notice of contract termination, landlords can take their dispute to the Housing Court.

5. Building Development / Change in Management Plans

An owner of an apartment building may one day decide to turn their property into a commercial building. Or, they could sell their property and the new owners may want to evict all tenants to pursue their development plans.

It is legal for landlords to sell their buildings even if their tenants are still in the property. The new owners are bound by law to respect the terms of the existing contracts; but once the contracts expire, the new owners may legally change the terms of the new contract or choose not to renew them anymore.

Service of Process in Landlord-Tenant Disputes

Giving notice is a common denominator among these tenancy disputes, especially for complaints that must be raised at the Housing Court. Landlord-tenant disputes in New York that cannot be settled with respectful conversation can be solved through mediation or litigation. For these legal procedures to begin, landlords filing a claim or seeking the eviction of their tenants must provide the latter with a copy of the legal documents.

Serve Index LLC has helped landlords in New York implement new policies in their properties and initiate eviction proceedings against non-paying or unruly tenants. Our process servers follow the rules of process serving as they hand-deliver notices to tenants, ensuring that clients will not find themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

You can count on our assistance in resolving disputes with your tenants. Get in touch with our process servers today.

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