Things to Consider
If you have a tenant in your property who is not paying rent or causing you problems, the correct way to go about removing them is to take the tenant to eviction court. The following are some things to consider if you are thinking about initiating an eviction proceeding:
- Is the property in question located within the City of Albany? If so, you will need to file the eviction case in Albany City Court - Civil Part. The Civil Part is located within City Hall, which is located at 24 Eagle St, Albany, NY 12207.
- Is the property owned by an LLC or an individual? If you own the property as an individual, you have the option of representing yourself in court if you so choose. However, NYS law requires LLC's to be represented by an attorney in any court proceedings. If you own the property through an LLC, you cannot represent yourself.
- Why do you want the tenant out? There are several types of eviction cases, and each type of case has different rules:
- Non-Payment Eviction: Tenant isn't paying rent (80-90% of Albany eviction cases)
- Holdover Eviction: Any other reason, e.g. lease violations, criminal activity, etc. (10-20% of Albany evictions)
- Know the definition of an illegal eviction - and the consequences. Under NYS law (RPAPL § 768), an illegal eviction is defined as an attempt by a landlord to remove a tenant without going to court. This is a misdemeanor crime in New York State, and landlords who attempt to unlawfully evict a tenant may face arrest and prosecution. The following are some examples of actions that could constitute an illegal eviction attempt:
- Changing the locks without giving the tenant a key (lockout)
- Removing doors or locks on the property
- Harassing, intimidating, or threatening a tenant into moving out
- Removing the tenant's belongings from the unit
- Boarding up or sealing doors to the unit
- Cutting or shutting off utility service to the unit
- Falsely reporting lawful tenants as being "squatters" to law enforcement
- Using deception to coerce a tenant into vacating
- Tampering with or removing a tenant's mail
- Damaging the unit or the tenant's personal belongings
- Assaulting the tenant or physically removing them from the unit
In a NON-PAYMENT eviction case, the landlord is required to serve the tenant with the following documents, in this order. These should be sent via certified mail and/or personally served upon the tenant(s). Failure to do so may result in the case being postponed or dismissed.
- Rent demand: This is a document that states the amount of rent that is owed. It instructs the tenant to pay the rental arrears within 14 days, or they may face eviction. Note: If the tenant does pay the rental arrears, you cannot pursue an eviction for non-payment.
- Notice of petition for eviction: This document notifies the tenant that an eviction case has been initiated against them.
- Petition for eviction: You must also provide the tenant with a copy of the petition for eviction. The petition for eviction should be filed in Albany City Court, for properties located within Albany City limits.
NYS Courts offers a free, do-it-yourself (DIY) software program for small landlords to pursue a non-payment eviction. To access this program, click here.
Take Note: Under Local Law F of 2021, an expired lease is NOT considered good cause to evict someone in most cases. To learn more about good cause, click here.
Finding an Attorney
If you are interested in speaking to an attorney about your situation, click here.