How to Evict Commercial Tenants in New York

Tenant evictions are difficult by themselves, but the process can get more complicated when you’re evicting an entire business operation. Tenancy laws like the “Fair Housing Act” and the “Emergency Housing Stability and Displacement Protection Act” provide layer upon layer of protection for commercial tenants. Landlords must navigate through them while following the procedure for evictions in New York.

The services of an attorney are crucial in ensuring a lawful eviction of commercial tenants in NYC. Process servers also play an important role in commercial evictions.

We’ll walk you through the process in this article.

Serve a Notice

Many are not aware that New York laws consider eviction as the last recourse for commercial tenancy relationships that have gone sour. The courts expect landlords to exhaust all means necessary to communicate their demands to their tenants before filing for eviction in court. Even if the tenant has repeatedly broken the terms of their tenancy contract, landlords must give tenants a chance to correct the violation.

The first step, therefore, is to give tenants notice that they are facing eviction.

  • If a tenant fails to pay rent within five days after it is due, landlords must provide a written notice via certified mail.

An important reminder: Landlords are forbidden to use violence and forcibly remove commercial tenants from their premises, neither are they allowed to lock tenants out of their rented space with their belongings still inside (this is an illegal practice called “self-help”).

If a tenant still doesn’t pay on time even after receiving a 5-day notice, landlords can serve appropriate notices based on their grounds for eviction:

  • Rent Demand – A notice for delinquent or non-payment of rent. This outlines how much tenants owe, the various payment methods they can use, and the date the payment is due. Landlords should give them at least 14 days to settle.
  • Notice to Quit – A notice for recovery of possession of the rented space. Landlords can give notice if the lease term has ended, if the tenant used the premises illegally, or if the tenant committed a violation that’s specified as a breach of “substantial obligation” in the contract. If a landlord accepted a rent payment after the lease expired, they have to give the tenants 30 days to vacate the space.

To ensure that these notices are properly served to commercial tenants facing eviction, landlords may hire process servers to deliver a Rent Demand or Notice to Quit. Serve Index can give you more advice on this matter.

tenant moving out

File the Eviction Petition in Court

If your tenants are unable to meet the terms of your Rent Demand or Notice to Quit, you can formally start the eviction process by filing a Notice of Petition and Petition.

If unpaid rent is the grounds for eviction, the proceeding will be classified as a non-payment case. If your goal is to recover your property from problematic tenants, your case will be filed as a holdover case.

Like with any civil case, accurate and proper process service is a must for your case to proceed in court. Tenants should receive a copy of the Notice of Petition and Petition as these indicate the date, time, and location of the first hearing. Both parties will appear before a court attorney, who will review the case and help both sides to agree on a settlement. If they can’t find some kind of resolution, the case will have to be tried in court.

Go to Trial, Judgement, and Execution

Landlords have the burden of proof for both non-payment and holdover cases. You must present evidence proving your tenant’s non-payment or contract violations. If you and your attorney successfully make your case, the court will grant your petition with a judgment of possession. A copy will be sent to the marshal or sheriff, who will then execute the judgment.

If the judgment approved the tenant’s execution, the marshal or plaintiff must serve them with a Notice for Eviction. The tenants will have six days to vacate the commercial space.

Dependable Service from Licensed Process Servers

Throughout the process of commercial eviction, process servers are vital in ensuring that the court has jurisdiction over the defendants. Failure to serve, or serving erroneously, can result in long and expensive delays in the eviction process.

We make sure that process service will not be a cause for the delay in your petition for eviction. Call Serve Index today.

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