Frequently Asked Questions
Have a tenant related question? We have the answer! Check out our FAQs below to learn more about our law firm, our attorney sign-up fee, monthly subscription payment plan, legal services and to get answers to your legal questions.
Q. Why shouldn't I represent myself in Housing Court?
A. Attempting to handle legal problems without the assistance of an attorney can often complicate an already difficult situation. Despite the resources available online, every legal issue is unique. Do-it-yourself forms and advice may not take those key differences into consideration. It is in your best interest to be represented by a reputable and experienced attorney. At Gordon Legal, we can guide you through the Housing Court process, answer your questions, and advocate on your behalf.
The bottom line – Tenants who are represented by attorneys are significantly more likely to obtain a better outcome, saving you unnecessary stress, time, and expense.
Q. Is Gordon Legal the right law firm for me? / Why should I trust your firm with my case?
A. Choosing a law firm to represent you and your case is one of the most important decisions you can make. We understand that your case is important to you and choosing the right firm and attorneys to represent you could make the difference for your case. Gordon Legal is a tenant law firm with over twenty-five years of legal experience with more than twelve years dedicated strictly to landlord tenant law. Being that we are a strictly a tenant defense law firm, we can dedicate the appropriate resources and time to manage your case successfully to meet your goals.
Q. How long have you been in business?
A. Gordon Legal was founded by Mr. Steven Ben Gordon in 2010 and since its inception it has maintained an unwavering commitment to solely practicing landlord tenant law, litigating, and trying cases and/or brokering favorable settlement agreements for our clients whenever possible.
Q. What landlord tenant practice areas does Gordon Legal practice?
A. Landlord Tenant law can be particularly tricky at times. If this is the case, make sure to give us a call and find out why Gordon Legal offers one of the best tenant defense counsels in New York.
With very few exceptions, we practice tenant defense law handling the following practice areas:
- Holdover Evictions
- Non-Payment Evictions
- Unlawful Dwellings
- Repairs and Violations
- Illegal Evictions
Q. What tenant legal services does Gordon Legal practice?
A. We offer the following type of tenant legal services:
- Drafting Client Legal Documents
- Representing Clients in Court
- Negotiating Court Stipulations and Settlements on behalf of Clients
- Negotiating Buyout Agreements on behalf of Clients
- Representing and Defending Clients in Litigation, at Hearings and in Trial
Q. Where do you provide services?
A. Our office is located on Northern Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens. We can offer legal services to tenants living in Queens, New York and throughout the five boroughs of the City of New York.
Q. Do I need to come into your office and meet you in person to retain you, or to receive legal services?
A. No. To save you time and money, we schedule all initial consultations via telephone conference at a date and time that is more convenient for you.
Q. Do you charge for consultations?
A. No. We want to ensure that our clients are well informed on their legal rights. Therefore, we offer free telephone consultations to our clients and potential clients.
Q. What happens at an initial consultation?
A. At the initial consultation we will ask you to a brief description of what you need help with. At this point, we are looking for a summary. We will then ask you a series of targeted questions to determine the nature of your legal issue and whether we may represent you as well the following:
- Your legal options
- Whether we may represent your case
- Your prospects of success
- How to achieve your goals
- How much we charge for legal representation
Q. How much does Gordon Legal charge for legal representation?
A. We are committed to providing tenants with the most cost-effective legal representation. We offer a simple $1,500.00 sign-up fee and $400.00 monthly subscription payment plan during pendency of your case.
Q. What do I receive in exchange for your attorney's fee?
A. Gordon Legal clients benefit from experienced legal counsel helping clients avoid the common pitfalls that most housing court litigants fall into. We continue to consistently strive to make sure all highly technical documentation is prepared correctly, unforgiving deadlines are met, and that our clients get the best possible advocacy from start to finish.
- Legal Documents
- Court Appearances
- Court Stipulations of Settlement
- Buyout Agreements
- Litigation, Hearings and Trials
Q. How can I become a client of your firm?
A. Please call us at (888) 458-5410 and speak with our client service team who will schedule you a free telephone consultation, at a time that is most convenient for you. During your free consultation we will determine how our firm can best represent you and your case.
Q. Why do landlords start eviction cases?
A. Landlords start cases to collect rent and to evict tenants.
Q. What is a nonpayment proceeding?
A. A court case started by the landlord to collect unpaid rent and to evict the tenant if the tenant cannot pay the rent that is owe
Q. What is a Holdover?
A. A holdover case is brought to evict a tenant or a person in the apartment who is not a tenant for reasons other than simple nonpayment of rent.
Q. What is an HP Proceeding?
A. This is a court case usually started by a tenant to have a landlord make repairs to an apartment to stop a landlord from harassing a tenant.
Q. Why do tenants start cases in Housing Court?
A. Tenants start cases in Housing Court to get repairs, move back in after an eviction, or to stop harassment by the landlord.
Q. What can a Housing Court Judge can order?
A. A Housing Court Judge can order: (1) payment of rent, (2) a tenant out of an apartment, (3) a tenant back in an apartment, (4) repairs, and (5) money due on counterclaims.
Q. How much time does it take to evict a tenant?
A. It depends on what type of legal defense the tenant has and whether a judge allows delays filed by the tenant.
Q. What is a judgment?
A. A judgment is the final decision of the judge. It is a determination of the rights and obligations of the parties. In each lawsuit, a judgment may direct a dismissal of the lawsuit, order payment of a money amount or a direct one or more of the parties to do an act.
Q. What can a landlord do if the tenant has stopped paying rent?
A. If a tenant has stopped paying rent a landlord can start a nonpayment case. First, the landlord must first make a rent demand. If the tenant does not pay, the landlord can start a case in court.
Q. What can a landlord do if there is a person living in the apartment who was invited to stay by the former tenant before the tenant moved out?
A. If there is someone living in the premises that started living there with the tenant's permission before the tenant moved out, that person is a licensee. A landlord can start a licensee holdover case. First, the landlord must serve the licensee with a notice to quit. If the licensee does not move out, the landlord can start a case in court.
Q. What can a landlord do if there are people living in the premises that moved in without permission from the landlord or anyone else?
A. If there are people living in your premises who moved in without the landlord's permission or without permission from anyone else, these people are squatters. A landlord can start a squatter holdover case to evict them. First, the landlord must serve each squatter with a Notice to Quit. If the squatters do not move out, the landlord can start a court case.
Q. May a landlord sue for money and possession of the subject premises at the same time?
A. If a landlord is seeking to obtain possession, usually possession of the subject premises is obtained separately or prior to obtaining a judgment. A collection case may be commenced after the tenant is out of possession. If the court awards the petitioner a possessory judgment, then a warrant of eviction may issue. The judgment may include rent due, and if no rent is due while the respondent is in possession, the fair value of use and occupancy of the premises.
Q. Should a landlord apply the security deposit to a tenant's unpaid rent?
A. No. Generally, the courts will make it difficult to replace security.
Q. Can a landlord obtain legal fees and late fees?
A. A judgment may also contain an award of legal fees to the winning party. Each party in a lawsuit is responsible for its own legal fees unless there is an agreement or a statute which provides otherwise. If the lease between the parties provides for an award of legal fees to the landlord for the tenant's failure to perform any agreement in the lease, the tenant also has the same right to collect an award of legal fees for his or her attorney.
Q. Can a landlord change a tenant's locks to force the tenant to move?
A. No. This is called an “illegal lockout” and Landlords may be subjected to treble damages and potential criminal proceedings.
Q. May a landlord turn off essential services such as the heat, water, or electricity to force the tenant to move?
A. No. This is called a “constructive eviction.” Landlords may be subjected to treble damages and potential criminal proceedings.
Q. May a landlord change the locks on a tenant's apartment to lock out a tenant?
A. No. This is called an “illegal lockout” and Landlords may be subjected to treble damages and potential criminal proceedings
Q. May a landlord change the locks to lock out squatters?
A. No. This is called an “illegal lockout” and Landlords may be subjected to treble damages and potential criminal proceedings. However, if those individuals have been in the subject premises for less than 30 days, you may notify the police department for possible assistance.
Q. What is service of process?
A. The delivery of copies of legal documents to the defendant or other person to whom the documents are directed. Legal documents which must be served include a summons, complaint, petition, order to show cause, subpoena, notice to quit the premises and certain other documents. The procedure for service of process is specifically set out in statutes.
Q. What happens if the legal documents are not served the right way?
A. If you do not serve a tenant, the right way the Judge may make you start all over again. The case may be dismissed without prejudice to you starting over.
Q. May a landlord/owner serve the legal papers personally?
A. The landlord/owner cannot serve the legal papers because a person having a direct interest in a legal matter, transaction or proceeding cannot serve their legal papers. The landlord should have a process server deliver legal papers.
Q. What if there are other people living in the home?
A. Every adult that is listed in the legal papers must be served with his or her own set of the legal papers. This includes any legal papers that are mailed.
Q. What happens if the tenant never picks up the certified copy of the legal papers from the Post Office?
A. The Court considers the legal papers served whether the tenant picked up the certified mailing or not, if the rest of the rules were followed.
Q. Why is a predicate Demand or Notice necessary for a landlord to start most landlord tenant cases?
A. The law requires a landlord to serve a tenant with a Demand or Notice prior to filing a case in court. The landlord's case may be dismissed without a proper predicate Demand or Notice.
Q. What is a Petition?
A. A Petition in special or summary landlord tenant proceeding is a legal paper like a complaint filed in court and delivered to the tenants and occupants stating what the landlord requests from the court and the tenants and occupants.
Q. What happens if a tenant does not answer the legal papers, or a landlord or tenant misses the court date?
A. If a tenant does not answer the court papers or misses a court date; the landlord could win a judgment which could result in an eviction. To ask the court to stop the eviction and reopen the case the tenant must have both a good reason for not going to court when the tenant was supposed to and a good reason or defense why the landlord should not win the case.
Q. In an eviction case, what happens if a tenant and a landlord cannot agree?
A. They will have a trial. The landlord will have to prove the case. If the landlord cannot prove the case, it will be thrown out; if the landlord proves the case, the landlord will get a judgment against the tenant for the eviction.
Q. What happens if a tenant does not answer the legal papers, or a landlord or tenant misses the court date?
A. If a respondent fails to answer or appear in court, the petitioner is entitled to seek a default judgment. Unlike a nonpayment proceeding, the Judge will hold an inquest for the petitioner to prove his or her claims. The court will tell you when and where the inquest will take place; it may or may not be conducted in the Resolution Part. At the inquest, the petitioner will also be required to provide information as to the respondent's military status. If the landlord proves his or her case, the judge will direct that a judgment be entered. A final judgment in a holdover proceeding provides for a possessory judgment and may also provide for a money judgment. If the money judgment is not timely paid, the respondent can be evicted. Even if the money judgment is paid, or if there is no money judgment, the respondent can be evicted if there is a possessory judgment. The judge may require that the petitioner serve a copy of the judgment on the respondent. The judgment will normally permit the issuance of a warrant. Most New York City landlords contact a city marshal, provide information and/or a copy of the judgment to the city marshal and the city marshal then files a request for the issuance of a warrant with the clerk. Once the warrant issues, the city marshal may evict the respondent.
Q. What happens if both the landlord and tenant (both sides) appear in court?
A. If both the landlord and tenant appear in court the case will be ready to proceed. Many holdover cases are settled in conferences which may include the petitioner, the respondent, and the attorneys for each side/party, mediators, court attorneys, and at times even a Judge.
Q. What is a stipulation of settlement?
A. If the case is settled, a stipulation of settlement will be written. The stipulation of settlement may provide for the issuance of a judgment and warrant if the respondent fails to comply with the conditions of the stipulation. The stipulation may contain requirements for the petitioner to notify the respondent before the warrant may be issued. The stipulation may require the petitioner to make a motion to the court, either on notice or without notice to the other side before the warrant can be executed. Whatever, the stipulation requires, the conditions must be complied with before the judgment and/or warrant can be entered or issued. Once the petitioner has obtained a judgment and warrant of eviction based upon the stipulation of settlement, the city marshal can evict the respondent.
Q. In an eviction case, what happens if a tenant and a landlord cannot agree?
A. If both the landlord and tenant appear in court and a settlement cannot be reached, the case will be sent to a Trial Part for trial before a Housing Court Judge.
Q. What is an Order to Show Cause?
A. An Order to Show Cause is a written request to bring the case to a Judge for a reason or reasons in the Order to Show Cause papers. An Order to Show Cause must be signed by a judge and will state the date, time, and courtroom for the court hearing.
Q. Will an Order to Show Cause stop the eviction of a tenant?
A. A tenant may ask the court to issue an Order to Show Cause (OSC) and a Stay, an order staying, or delaying, the eviction until the issues raised by the tenant are addressed on a hearing date set by the court. If a city marshal is served with a signed OSC that stays the eviction, he or she is legally bound by the directions of the court, but if the court does not stay the eviction, the city marshal must go forward with it. Unless otherwise directed by the court, the city marshal, after being served with an OSC that stays the eviction, must serve an additional Notice of Eviction by regular mail before conducting the eviction or legal possession.
Q. What is a warrant requisition?
A. Once a judgment is obtained. A warrant requisition is the paperwork submitted to a city marshal to legally evict an individual.
Q. How long does it take to obtain a warrant?
A. It takes about three to six weeks to obtain a warrant, depending on the court and specific circumstances of the case.
Q. What does it mean to get an “issuance” of a warrant of eviction?
A. The issuance of a warrant of eviction authorizes a sheriff or city marshal to perform an eviction.
Q. What is an eviction?
A. An eviction is the removal of a tenant and his or her personal belongings from an apartment. The city marshal sees that any entrance locks on the premises to which the tenant may have access are changed. Before a landlord can evict a tenant, a city marshal must serve a marshal's notice, also called a notice of eviction.
Q. What is a "notice” of eviction"?
A. A notice of eviction is a written notice from a city marshal or sheriff warning a tenant that the tenant has move out.
Q. What does it mean to have a city marshal “execute” the warrant of eviction?
A. Before executing the warrant of eviction a city marshal must give notice in writing to the persons to be evicted. After providing notice, scheduling the eviction, and confirming the eviction with the landlord; a city marshal may perform an eviction or obtain legal possession between on a business day, Monday through Friday, except on legal holidays.
Q. What is the Purpose of the Re-service of the Notice of Eviction?
A. The purpose of the Notice of Eviction is to make sure that the respondent has adequate advanced warning of an eviction. If the notice becomes stale after delivery, it can no longer be used and there must be a re-service of the Notice of Eviction.
Q. Are there Special Rules for Children, Mentally Ill, Handicapped, Elderly or Others?
A. The city marshals are required to find out in advance if the premises are occupied by any individual unable to fend for themselves and if so, to notify the Department of Investigation before scheduling the eviction. City marshals must notify local police if unattended children are found at an eviction site. If, upon arriving at the premises, a city marshal discovers that the tenant or any occupants of the unit are mentally ill, handicapped, elderly, or otherwise unable to care for themselves, a city marshal must notify the Department of Investigation and the appropriate social welfare agency. The eviction must be postponed for approximately two weeks to give the appropriate social service agency an opportunity to aid such occupants.
Q. What Property may be removed during an eviction?
A. The landlord may choose between having the city marshal perform an eviction and having a city marshal obtain legal possession. In both, the marshal returns control of the premises to the landlord. For an eviction, a city marshal must hire a bonded moving company licensed by the New York State Department of Transportation and must direct the moving company to deliver the items removed from the premises to a warehouse licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs. In a legal possession, the tenant's personal property remains under the care and control of the landlord until the tenant can arrange to transport the property to another location.
Q. What if a city marshal finds living animals in the premises?
A. If a city marshal finds any living animals, he or she must notify Animal Rescue to remove the animals. City marshals are required to prepare a written inventory of all items contained in the premises of any tenant to be evicted.
Q. What property may the tenant remove from the premises during an eviction?
A. If a tenant is present at an eviction, the tenant has the right to remove any property or valuables. Property can also be released to a relative, friend or neighbor, if a city marshal is satisfied that the person has the authority to take the property.
Q. What if a city marshal finds money in the premises?
A. Money found and taken by a city marshal must be left in the custody of the local police station or in a city marshal's office if delivery to the police station is not possible. After the warrant has been executed city marshals are required to notify the evicted tenants of the location of their property.
Q. What items are not to be removed during an eviction?
A. The following articles are not to be removed from the premises: food, groceries, dishes encrusted with food, any fixture so attached to the realty that its removal will cause damage to the realty, rugs and wall-to-wall carpets which are firmly affixed to the floor, linoleum, or tiles.
Q. What is New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA)?
A. New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) contains widespread broad changes to the laws governing many forms of New York housing.
HSTPA contains broad changes to Rent Regulations that pertain to Expiration Provisions, Luxury Deregulation, Rent Increases for Building Improvements, Rent Increases During Vacancies, Rent Stabilization Coverage, Rent Overcharge Claims, Treble Damages, Records Requirements, Choice of Forum, Preferential Rents Recovery of Regulated Apartments for Owner's Use, Non-Profit Exemption from Rent Stabilization, and Rent Increases for Rent Controlled Tenants.
HSTPA contains broad changes to Real Property Law that pertain to Notices Prior to Expiration of Lease and of Rent Increase, Duty to Mitigate Damages by Renting Apartment, Notice to Tenant of Failure to Pay Rent and Rent Receipts, Attorney Fees, Non-Rent Fees, Rental Application Fees, Retaliatory Eviction, and Tenant Blacklists.
HSTPA contains broad changes to Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law that pertain to Nonpayment Proceedings, Timing in Nonpayment Proceedings, Right to Pay Prior to Hearing, Rent Defined to Exclude Fees, Timing of Holdover Proceedings, Rent Deposits and Motions for Use and Occupancy During Pendency of Summary Proceedings, Judgments, Stays, The Warrant of Eviction and the Marshal's Notice, Post-Trial Stay, and Unlawful Eviction.
HSTPA contains broad changes to General Obligations Law that pertain to Limits on Security Deposits and Pre-Paid Rent, Inspection of Premises, Return of Security Deposit, Conversion to Cooperative and Condominium Ownership and Manufactured Homes.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Law Notices Prior to Expiration of Lease and of Rent Increase (RPL Sections 226-c and 232-a and 232-b)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA month-to-month tenancies could be terminated with service of a 30-day notice; no notice requirement at expiration of ordinary lease or if renewal conditioned on increase in rent.
Now with the 2019 HSTPA, landlords must notify tenants if the lease will not be renewed or if the rent will be increased by 5% or more. The amount of notice depends on length of occupancy or lease term.
Landlords must serve tenants with a 30-notice for occupancies of less than 1 year or a lease term equal to or less than 1 year.
Landlords must serve tenants with a 60-notice for occupancies of more than 1 years but less than 2 years or a lease term equal to or less than 2 years.
Landlords must serve tenants with a 90-notice for occupancies of more than 2 years, or a lease term equal to or more than 2 years.
Notices must specify vacate date.
Post 2019 HSTPA notice requirements apply statewide to non-regulated residences; applies to all tenancies, even one-family homes, but is inapplicable to non-leasing license relationships.
If the proper notice is not given, tenancy continues same terms until notice is given and required time passes.
In NYC, termination notice requires RPAPL Section 735 service; outside of NYC, or for commercial tenant; landlord service method is unclear; RPAPL Section 735 service is not referenced.
Under prior law and post 2019 HSTPA, tenant need not give notice before vacating.
RPL Section 232-b is amended to provide monthly and month-to-month tenancies outside NYC may be terminated by either commercial landlord or tenant on 30 days' notice.
Post 2019 HSTPA landlord notice requirements effective October 12, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Law Notice to Tenant of Failure to Pay Rent and Rent Receipts (RPL Section 235-e)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA other than statutory 3-day rent demand, nothing required landlord to notify tenant that rent was not received.
Post 2019 HSTPA, residential and commercial tenants must be notified by certified mail within 5 days that rent was not received on the due date. Tenants may raise as an affirmative defense to a nonpayment proceeding the failure to provide the 5-day rent reminder notice. Landlords must maintain records of cash receipts for at least three years; rent receipts must be provided upon tenant's request or if rent is paid by cash or any form other than personal check. If payment is made in person, receipt to be given immediately. If payment not made in person, receipt must be provided within 15 days. Effective June 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Law Attorney Fees, Non-Rent Fees and Rental Application Fees RPL Sections 234 and 238-a)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA if a residential lease provided for landlord's right to recover attorney fees, a reciprocal right was implied at aw in tenant's favor and DHCR has discretion to award attorney fees.
Post 2019 HSTPA attorney fees may not be recovered on a default judgment.
2019 HSTPA limits non-rent fees for rental application to lessor of actual cost of background checks and credit checks or $20.00. To collect the fees for credit or background checks, landlords must provide the potential tenant a copy of the credit or background check and a receipt from the entity conducting the check. The fee is waived if a tenant provides a copy of a credit or background check conducted within the past 30 days. Landlords are entitled to a late fee of the lesser of $50.00 or 5% of the monthly rent. Tenants have a minimum 5-day grace period to pay rent. Effective June 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Law Retaliatory Eviction (RPL Section 223-b)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA landlords were prohibited from taking action to bring holdover proceedings to evict tenants in retaliation for tenant complaints of violations of health or safety laws to enforcement agencies, tenants taking action to enforce rights under the lease or at la, or tenant's participation in a tenant organization. There is a rebuttable presumption that evictions were retaliatory if within 6 months of protected tenant actions.
Post 2019 HSTPA protected tenant actions that create presumption of retaliation now includes complaint of breach of habitability to landlord or agent or to prohibit changes to the terms of tenancy. Rebuttable presumption extended to 1 year of a good-faith complaint. Presumption now applies to nonpayment proceedings, not merely holdovers. Potential retaliatory action now includes offering a new lease with an “unreasonable” rent increase. Landlords may be required to offer a new lease or lease renewal for a term of up to 1 year. Tenant entitled to attorney fees in civil action for retaliatory eviction. Effective June 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Law Tenant Blacklists (RPL Sections 227-f and Judiciary Law Section 212)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA public records including court records were used to compile “blacklists” of tenants who have had court proceedings against them. Landlords used these records to screen rental applications.
Post 2019 HSTPA a rental application may not be refused based on a past or present landlord-tenant action or summary proceeding under RPAPL Art. 7. A rebuttable presumption is created against a landlord that denies rental after having requested information from a tenant screening bureau otherwise inspected court record. Landlords have the burden to provide an alternate reason that tenancy was rejected. Attorney General has enforcement power, no private cause of action. Civil penalties between $500 and $1,000 for each violation. The Unified Court System may not sell residential-tenant or eviction date. Effective June 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law that pertain to Nonpayment Proceedings (RPAPL Section 711(2) and RPAPL Sections 732(1) and 732(3)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA landlords had to make demand to pay rent three (3) days before starting a nonpayment proceeding. Oral demands were permitted, but if written, demand must have been served. Tenants had five (5) days to answer. .
Post 2019 HSTPA oral rent demands are no longer permitted. Fourteen (14) day written demand required; must be served as per RPAPL Section 735. Landlords may not seek arrears from a surviving spouse, surviving issue, or distribute. Landlord's remedy is solely against estate of the decedent; only possessory (not money) judgment may be obtained against the estate. RPAP: Section 711: “No tenant or awful occupant of a dwelling or housing accommodation shall be removed from possession except in a special proceeding.” Tenants have ten (10) days to answer or will be in default in a nonpayment proceeding. Court has discretion to grant up to a five (5) day stay on the issuance of a warrant post-trial, subject to discretionary stay of up to one (1) year under RPAPL Section 753. HSTPA expands rights of occupants who might be in possession after tenant's death; warrant of eviction against the estate of decedent due to nonpayment of rent will not permit landlord to evict occupant in possession; in this case, landlord must commence separate holdover proceeding to evict occupant and regain possession of apartment. RPAPL Section 711(2) applicable to residential proceedings. RPAPL sections 732 (1), (2), an (3) applicable to residential and commercial proceedings. RPAPL Section 711(2) effective June 14, 2019. RPAPL Section 732 effective July 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law that pertain to Timing in Nonpayment Proceedings RPAPL Sections 732(1) and 732(3)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA tenants had five (5) days to answer.
Post 2019 HSTPA tenants have ten (10) days to answer or be in default in a nonpayment proceeding. Court has discretion to grant up to a five (5) day stay of the issuance of a warrant post-trial or post-answer default, subject to discretionary stay of up to one (1) year under RPAPL Section 753. Effective July 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law that pertain to Right to Pay Prior to Hearing (RPAPL 731(4)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA the law pertaining to a tenant's right to pay prior to a hearing not codified.
Post 2019 HSTPA if full amount of rent is paid before hearing on the petition, landlords must accept payment, and the proceeding must be dismissed. Applies to residential and may apply to commercial tenancies. Effective June 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law that pertain to Rent Defined to Exclude Fees (RPAPL Section 702)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA a residential lease could include provisions for “added” or “additional” rents, such as late and legal fees. A petitioner was able to seek such rent in a summary nonpayment or holdover proceeding. A rent-regulated tenant was subject to a money judgment but not a possessory judgment for not paying additional rent. A non-regulated tenant was liable for a money judgment for such rent.
Post 2019 HSTPA residential rent defined narrowly to include only amount charged in consideration for the “use and occupation' of the space. “No fees, charges or penalties other than rent may be sought in a summary proceeding.” Applies to residential proceeding, but not commercial proceedings. Effective June 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law that pertain to Timing of Holdover Proceedings (RPAPL Sections 733(1) and 743?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA service of a holdover petition must have been made at least five (5) days and not more than twelve (12) days before the first court appearance. If petition was served at least eight (8) days before initial return date, tenant had three (3) days before initial return date, tenant had three (3) days to answer.
Post 2019 HSTPA service of a holdover petition must be made at least ten (10) days and not more than seventeen (17) days before the first court appearance. Tenant must answer the petition orally or in writing at the first court appearance. Section RPAPL Section 743 is amended to eliminate the requirement that an answer be made at least three (3) days before the petition is returnable/to be heard. Applies to residential and commercial proceedings. RPAPL Section 733 effective June 14, 2019. RPAPL Section effective July 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law that pertain to the Warrant of Eviction and the Marshal's Notice (RPAPL Sections 749(1) and 749(2)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA upon issuance of a final judgment of possession, courts would issue a warrant of eviction, but courts did not specify timing of execution. Marshals had to give at least 72 hours' notice before the eviction. Issuance of the arrant canceled the lease and annulled the landlord-tenant relationship, depriving courts of the power to vacate the warrant for good cause.
Post 2019 HSTPA a warrant of eviction must state the earliest date the eviction can occur. The city marshal must give at least fourteen (14) days' notice prior to eviction; warrants may be executed only on a business day from Monday through Friday. Issuance of warrants no longer cancels the landlord-tenant relationship. If a tenant tenders or deposits all the rent due at any time before the warrant of eviction is expected, the warrant in a nonpayment case is vacated unless landlord can establish that tenant withheld the rent in bad faith. Court may, for good cause, stay or vacate a warrant, stay re-letting or renovation of premises for a reasonable period, and restore tenant to possession; nothing may deprive court from the power to stay, vacate, or restore a tenant o possession off the premises after execution of a warrant. Warrant may remove only “persons named in the proceeding.” Applies to commercial and residential proceedings. Effective June 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law that pertain to Post-Trial Stay (RPAPL Sections 753(1) and 753(3)
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA in the NYC holdover summary proceedings courts could stay issuance and execution of warrants for up to six (6) months, except if landlord intended to demolish the building. In holdover proceedings based on a lease violation, tenants were given automatic 10-day stays to cure.
Post 2019 HSTPA in both nonpayment and holdover proceedings, courts statewide have discretion to grant an occupant a stay of up to one (1) year; the demolition exception is abolished; there is an exception to court's discretion if the proceeding is based on objectionable conduct or if landlord can establish occupant is objectionable.
Factors courts may consider when granting a stay, or deciding the length of a stay, to determine whether an eviction would cause extreme hardship f a stay was not granted: (a) serious ill health; (b) significant exacerbation of ongoing condition; (c) child's enrollment in local school; and (d) any other extenuating life circumstances affecting ability of applicant or family to relocate and maintain quality of life.
Courts shall consider any substantial hardship on landlord in determining whether to grant the stay and in setting the stay's length and other terms.
Automatic cure period under RPAPL Section 753(4) for breach-of-lease provision extended form ten (10) to thirty (30) days.
If lessee (tenant) is not removed from the leased premises after a foreclosure or tax foreclosure, proceeding must be sealed, and all records of the proceedings must be kept confidential pursuant to RPAPL Section 757.
To effect these changes in the law, RPAL Section 751(4), which limited stays outside of NYC, is repealed.
Effective June 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law that pertain to Unlawful Eviction (RPAPL Section 768)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA unlawful eviction were illegal and only legal by court proceedings, to evict residential occupants who had occupied the premises for at least thirty (30) days or entered a lease
Post 2019 HSTPA unlawful evictions are punishable as a Class A misdemeanor carrying civil penalties from $1,000.00 - $10,000.00 per violation.
Definition of conduct constituting unlawful eviction is expanded to (a) using or threatening force; (b) interfering or intended to interfere with the ability to use dwelling; (c) engaging or threatening to engage in any conduct that prevents or is intended to prevent occupant from lawful occupancy or to induce lawful occupant's vacatur.
Owner required to restore person unlawfully removed.
Effective June 14, 2019.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed General Obligations Law that pertain to Limits on Security Deposits and Pre-Paid Rent (GOL Section 7-108(1-a)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA rent stabilized tenants were not required to deposit or advance more than one (1) month's rent as security; no limits on security deposits or prepaid rent for market tenants.
Post 2019 HSTPA tenants in rent-stabilized and unregulated units may not be required to deposit more than one (1) month's rent as security deposit. Abolishes pre-paid rent advances. No more first and last month's rent accepted or required at beginning of tenancy.
Q. How has New York's Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) changed General Obligations Law that pertain to Inspection of Premises, Return of Security Deposit (GOL Section 7-108(1-a) (c)-(e)?
A. Prior to 2019 HSTPA a security deposit had to be returned within a “reasonable time.”
Post 2019 HSTPA after a lease is signed but before occupancy begins, landlords must offer tenants an opportunity to inspect apartments (with landlord present). After inspection, the parties must enter into a written agreement attesting to the condition of the apartment and noting any defect of damage. The agreement is admissible as evidence of the condition of the premises at the beginning of the occupancy only in actions related to returning the security deposit and not for warranty of habitability
Upon a tenant's notice of intent to vacate, landlord must conduct exit walk thru no more than two (2) weeks and no less than one (1) week before the surrender. Landlord must give 48 hours' notice of inspection. Tenant may be present. After inspection, landlord must give itemized statement specifying repairs and cleaning that shall be the basis of any security-deposit deduction. Tenant may cure any condition before tenancy ends.
Landlord has fourteen (14) days from tenant's vacatur to return security and an itemized statement if any portion of the deposit is retained for nonpayment of rent, nonpayment of utility charges, damaged caused by tenant beyond normal wear and tear and moving, or storage of tenant's belongings.
If landlord fails to provide itemization of deposit within fourteen (14) days, landlord forfeits right to retain any portion of security deposit.
The security deposit cannot be withheld based on a claim of wear and tear, attorneys' fees, late fees, additional rent, or other miscellaneous charges.
The itemized statement must specify any repairs or cleaning that shall be the basis of any deduction from the security deposit. Tenant may cure any condition before tenancy ends.
In an action disputing the mount of any security deposit retained, landlord has the burden to justify retaining any portion of any security deposit.
Willful violation subject to punitive damages up to twice the amount of the deposit.
Effective June 14, 2019.