Process Service for Landlord and Tenants: What You Should Know

In New York City, copies of the Notice of Petition and Petition must be served to the tenants before an eviction case can move forward. The Notice of Petition informs the tenant of the time, date, and venue of the court hearing, while the Petition details the reason for eviction.

The papers must be served no later than 10 days before the date of the hearing, and the tenant has 10 days to file a response. Proper service must be followed; otherwise, the case could be dismissed.

Serve Index LLC outlines everything you need to know about serving papers in New York for residential evictions.

How Is Proper Service Defined?

The landlord is not allowed to serve the papers themselves. While technically, anyone of the legal age of 18 and above can serve legal documents in New York, a licensed process server is better suited for this task. A process server knows the laws constituting proper service in New York.

Once you’ve decided on a process server, the papers may be served through the following methods:

  1. Personal Service: A qualified process server hand-delivers a copy of the Notice of Petition and Petition to the tenant/s.
  2. Substituted Service: A copy of the Notice of Petition and Petition is left with someone of “suitable age and discretion.” The person should be living or working in the residential unit. In addition, copies of the documents must be mailed to the tenant by the next business day—one via certified mail and another by regular mail.
  3. Conspicuous Service: The process server must try to personally deliver the legal papers to the tenant or someone who lives or works in the apartment at least two times. The two attempts must be made at different times of the day, such as during and after work hours.

After two unsuccessful attempts, the process server can tape copies of the documents to the tenant’s door or leave them under it. After which, one copy each should be mailed to the tenant via certified mail and regular mail.

woman signing a paperProviding Proof of Service

After the Petition and Notice of Petition have been served, the server must complete an affidavit of service. This is written proof that the documents were successfully delivered to the recipients.

  • Step 1: Request a copy of the Affidavit of Service from the court clerk, or download it here. The form requires information on the recipient’s hair color, skin color, approximate age, approximate weight and height, and any identifying features they might have.
  • Step 2: After the Affidavit of Service has been completed, the server must sign it before a Notary Public and have it notarized.
  • Step 3: A notarized copy of the Affidavit of Service must be filed with the Clerk’s Office within three days of the service. Be sure to make copies of the document for recordkeeping purposes.
  • Step 4: Bring a copy of the papers on the hearing date.

Service Hours in New York State

In New York, the process of service may only be carried out within these three time periods:

  • Non-Working Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 7:59 a.m. and 6:01 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Working Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Service of process on Sundays and religious observance days is not allowed.

Ensure Proper Service in New York City

Don’t let improper service prevent your case from moving forward in court. Serve Index LLC ensures that your legal documents are served to the right people at the right locations. You can be confident that service is done in compliance with New York laws and regulations.

Entrust the service of notices, petitions, and other legal documents to licensed and reputable process servers. Get in touch with us now to receive a free quote

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