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Sending a lease termination letter to a tenant

New York, NY |

Its a month to a month rent, and I would like to call and tell the tenant to move out in July. I also want to send a letter to inform to the same as backup. Do you think a first class mail with delivery confirmation should be sufficient? I know that a certified mail is better but if the tenant does not pick up then its useless.

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Attorney answers 5


You need to prepare a written 30 day notice of termination. In New York City, the termination date in the notice must be the last day of a month. The notice has to contain specific language and must be delivered to the tenant in a manner detailed in the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law. If the tenant does not move out by the termination date, you will have to start a proceeding in New York City Housing Court to recover possession of the apartment. If you do not comply with all of the content and service requirements for the termination notice, any proceeding you bring may be dismissed. You should consult an attorney before taking any further steps in this matter.


You need to have a 30 day notice served on the tenant no later than June 1 if you want possession for July 1. Best way is to have it served personally on tenant by someone over 18 years of age who is not a party to the lease and get an affidavit of service by that individual. You will need this later on if the tenant does not voluntarily leave and you need to bring an action to evict. You might want to consider hiring an attorney now to make sure it is done properly and save time down the road.

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Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Bruno Patrick Bianchi


Rich, That service, including mailings if necessary, should be completed by May 31. June is a 30 day month. For properties in New York City, Real Property Law Section 232-a requires termination on the last day of the monthly term service of the notice of termination 30 days prior to that day.

Peter J Weinman

Peter J Weinman


June 1 service would necessarily give the tenant until July 31.


Dear New York landlord:

Terminating a month to month tenancy in New York City is prelude to commencement of a summary holdover proceeding where the landlord looks to a judge in the Housing Court for a judgment for possession of the premises if the tenant did not move out on or before the last day of the month to month tenancy.

As such, a "defect" in the termination notice, especially in the method the landlord claims the notice was served upon the tenant, and just as vital choosing an improper date for ending the tenancy, will also end the case. The Housing Court only has jurisdiction to look at the landlord's summary proceeding if the landlord properly terminated the month to month tenancy with a lawfully written thirty day notice served in the manner mandated by the statute.

So, you do not want to experiment with this on your own.

Your knowledge that certified mail is useless may be true in the real world, but the proper service statute will make sure that a true copy of the notice is sent to the tenant in the manner if for some reason your licensed process server cannot serve the tenant in person with the termination notice.

Since you are provided a swift method to terminate the tenancy while offering to the tenant more time to move may be noble, so much advance warning will convince the tenant to not pay any more rent until in court and perhaps ordered by a judge to do so. If you want to be fair to the tenant, do your notice the correct way.

If you want the tenant to move out by July 1, you will need to terminate the tenancy as of June 30, 2013. That means that before the month of May 2013 is finished, you too should be finished with the process of preparing and serving the thirty day notice. And just because you choose to end the tenancy does not by itself force the tenant to move, as only the Court may do so.

You have ample opportunity to choose an attorney and settle on a strategy.

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.


Hire an experienced landlord tenant to assist you and prepare it properly. If you make a mistake, then you will need to restart the case starting with a new notice.

If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or



You need to serve a 30 day notice on the tenant in a manner prescribed by new york's real property law. After that, a petition for the eviction must be made. Be careful of the dates as an eviction is a summary proceeding - and there are rules ... improper service will likely result in the petition being dismissed. Since a mistake can be costly - usually 1-2 months of time are out the window in such circumstances, you should proceed carefully and hire an attorney to save you from the headache.

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David I. Witkon, Esq.