Landlord gave my son 28 days to move because the house was sold. What happens if he can't find another apartment in that time?
Ozone Park, NY |
My son moved into a basement apartment on April 1, 2013. Two weeks later the landlord informed him that the house was sold and he has 28 days to move. He was never informed that the house was for sale. Does my son have any rights?
Your son does have rights. First, did your son have a lease? If so, then the house is sold subject to the terms of the lease and unless the lease has a clause allowing it to be canceled on sale of the home then it stays in full force and effect. If he is a month to month tenant then he is entitled to 30 days notice to vacate. If after 30 days if he is still there, then the landlord can have him served with a petition for summary proceedings to evict which must give him 7 to 12 days notice to appear in court ad file an answer. He can appear in court on the scheduled date and ask for and receive one adjournment of up to 2 weeks. After that there will be a trial if the case can not be settled. After a trial a judge can order an eviction and issue a warrant of eviction which can only be carried out by a sheriff. The process takes time and if not done right can be dismissed where the landlord has to start over. In this case, the best thing to do would be to hire an attorney and negotiate a specific date by which your son would agree to be out of the apartment. He might even be able to work out some sor of incentive from the landlord for him to get out as the landlord is under a time c onstraint to close on the sale and needs the house to be vacant to close. Only a judge can order the eviction. There is no self help eviction the landlord can do nd must follow the process to get your son out.
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When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on NY law as I am licensed in NY. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.
At a minimum your son has a right to go to court to defend his tenancy, but on the facts you stated, the landlord cannot proceed to court. A New York tenant without a lease, is a month to month tenant. A landlord in New York City may choose to end a month to month tenancy without any reason, but is required to serve on the tenant a written thirty day notice of tenancy termination. Moreover, the written notice must end the tenancy on a last day of a rental period (if the rent due date is the first the last day of a month is considered the end of a monthly term) and the written notice is invalid if it is not served on the tenant in the same manner as a lawsuit in a summary proceeding. After April 1, the first proper day for a proper written of termination of tenancy would be May 31, 2013 ( at least a thirty day notice and ending the tenancy on the last day of a rent period.)
Those rights are part of New York landlord and tenant law and a landlord is not free to make up his own law just due to selling the house.
Read more about a tenant's set of rights in New York at:
For me as a tenant attorney, the greater issue is the basement apartment. Most apartments created in basements of one and two family houses are not legal to rent, and a landlord is also barred from using the court system to collect rent the tenant decides not to pay.
You could investigate this on your own. Look up the address of your son's building at HPD Online.
Enter the address information. That should take you to your son's building's home page. If the menu at the top of the screen indicates that there are '2' apartments in the building, the apartment in the basement in not likely legal. There are other ways for you to continue your investigation and you could of course consult with an attorney to do so.
Read more about basement apartment in New York City at:
If you are interested in learning about how a tenant defends a holdover proceeding read at:
Of course, if your son has a lease, the landlord has no legal ground to cancel void or end the lease just because the building is sold. A new owner takes the title to the building subject to existing leases and tenancies.
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.