I am concerned that my tenant's changing family situation may render her unable to make the rent if her court ordered alimony check is late or is not paid to her. I wanted to understand the steps I would need to take in the event of non-payment of rent. How many days does the law provide for the Tenant to make the rent (the lease language is 5 days), what notice, in what form and by when would I need to give Tenant, (the lease language permits email) what is the timeline for each step of the process, etc. Do the courts have a benchmark for what is considered reasonable behaviour should a landlord need to take action. thanks from Long Island, Dirk
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
If the tenant falls behind on rent, you look to the lease. In this case, if she falls behind by 5 days, you can serve a 3 Day Notice, which essentially places her on notice that if she does not pay the rent within 3 days, you will start the eviction proceeding. Generally, these take a day to prepare, and a day or two to have served by a process server. Email does NOT comply with the Statute, and would be deemed ineffective. Once that is served, you can file eviction proceedings. Assuming personal service, there will be a court date in 20 days. She will be granted one extension as of right, then there will be a quick hearing (one to three weeks later). Assuming that she does not pay the rent by the date of the hearing, you should get an order which will permit the sheriff to evict. That can take an additional month to two months. There is no "benchmark". There is proper conduct, and there improper/ineffective conduct. There are actions that you can take which will create liability on your part. If you are not familiar with the rules regarding eviction, you should retain an attorney to represent you. It will save you considerable time, and ultimately could save you considerable money. Please note, that at no time may you lock her out of the house, change the locks, cut off the utilities, or harass the tenant, without facing liability. Further, please note, if the rental is not legal, you face additional impediments to eviction.