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Can my landlord change the locks and kick me out if I'm only a month behind on my rent?

Hyde Park, NY |

I was out of work with pneumonia for approx 1 month which got me backed up on my bills. I have no sick pay where I'm employed so I received no money to pay my rent. My lease agreement also expired back in March 31,2012 if that gives you any more help. I'm still paying it's just that I'm having a hard time playing catch up. Can he kick me out with no notice?

Attorney Answers 3


No. What you are describing is an unlawful eviction. You should contact an attorney who handles unlawful eviction / NY RPAPL 853 cases. If you want to talk to me, I would be happy to speak with you.

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No. You are a holdover and the landlord has to evict you.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 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.

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Dear Hyde Park Tenant:

New York State (like every State in the USA) does not allow for a self-help eviction. No matter what the circumstance may be (unless the landlord has no fear in being sued for an illegal or unlawful eviction) a New York landlord must resort to a court proceeding for a legal order from a judge allowing a law enforcement officer to conduct an eviction based upon a warrant of eviction issued from the court.

And the New York process is technical and often leads to errors and mistakes when the landlord operates without an attorney. If all the landlord wants is rent, the law requires that the landlord go through the ritual and formal demand for payment of rent. The rent demand, also known as a three day notice, is a creation of a statute, and a mistake in the content of the rent demand or in the service of the rent demand may doom the landlord's followup nonpayment proceeding.

Likewise should the landlord decide (no reason needed for a New York landlord) to end the month to month tenancy the landlord must also serve a special notice but this notice is a one month notice of termination of tenancy. A one month termination notice for a month to month tenant paying rent on the first day of the month must provide both one month notice and also end the tenancy on the last day of the next month following the month when notice is given. The landlord then follows up if the tenant doe not move out with starting a summary holdover proceeding.

Know your rights and know the types of proceedings involved. This information is published by the New York Court system. You could start at:

Good luck.

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.

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