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Can a process server enter my apartment building in NYC if I didn't "buzz" him in?

New York, NY |

There is no doorman. There are two doors with two different "buzzes" that must be made before a person can enter. Is the process server trespassing if I didn't grant access? What if s/he asked a neighbor? What if s/he just sneaked in by following someone else? There is a huge sign on the main building door that warns about trespassing and only tenants and guests are allowed inside the building.

Attorney Answers 7

  1. Best answer

    Dear New York Tenant:

    In NYC in a restricted access building the landlord's attorney and process server coordinate so that the process server does not make futile efforts to gain entry to the building. So the landlord likely provided entry for the process server.

    If the papers were handed to you the service is described as personal service. If the papers were found on your apartment door or slipped beneath the door and we're followed by regular and certified mail, that form of service is described as "conspicuous" service.

    NYC process servers are licensed and must have GPS to support the facts relating to service as well as a hand written log book.

    A tenant may challenge service by a pre-answer motion to dismiss or by raising a challenge to service by fact statements in a written verified answer to the petition. It helps to review the process server affidavit of service which must be filed with the clerk along with the original notice of petition.

    The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

  2. Short answer is, if he/she got in, its irrelevant how that was accomplished and service on you would still be considered good by the court if otherwise done in accordance with the rules; and, no, you can not pursue a trespass complaint unless he/she entered the confines of your own apartment without your permission. Having said that, you would better serve yourself by concentrating on defending the action brought against you.

  3. Yes. The process server does not need your permission to enter.

    Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown's responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.

  4. If someone else let him in, it's not a problem.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.

  5. The answer is it doesn't matter because the police wont arrest him and how he got in will not invalididate service. You need to address the summons. If you are being sued for something you have insurance coverage for contact your carrier ASAP and it will assign you a lawyer. If you don't have insurance hire alwyer ASAP and be sure not to default.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 17 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  6. Once he is in he is in. Did he serve you personally after?

  7. Bottom line is he got in, and you need to deal with summons.