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If you receive an eviction notice, the worst thing you can do is to do nothing.
Pay attention to any deadlines or court dates - write them down. Are there any steps you can take to fix the issue that has lead to the eviction notice? For example, if you are behind on rent, you could apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program or contact United Tenants of Albany about assistance, or talk to your landlord about a payment plan. If there are lease violations, perhaps you can take steps to remedy that situation.
You may also wish to seek legal assistance through an organization such as the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY.
Remember that you have the legal right to stay in your home until you have received an eviction judgment and your landlord has a signed warrant. An eviction notice does not mean you have to leave.
Under normal circumstances, the eviction process can move fairly quickly. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a large backlog of cases moving through Albany City Court. If you plan on showing up to court and fighting the eviction, the process could take several weeks, or even months.
Currently, tenants in Albany do not have a right to counsel. This means that tenants do not get a lawyer appointed to them in eviction court.
Tenants do have the option of seeking an attorney on their own. For free legal assistance, contact the Legal Aid Society at 833-628-0087.
Legally, you are not required to attend court in a civil case, such as an eviction. You will not be arrested for failing to appear.
However, if you do not go to court, you will not have the chance to be heard by the judge. In addition, in many cases where the tenant does not show up, the judge will issue a default judgment against them.
Generally, Albany City Court judges do not ask about whether or not the property in question has a valid ROP (Residential Occupancy Permit). However, the tenant is able to use that argument as a defense in non-payment of rent cases. This means that the tenant (or their attorney) would need to show up in court and tell the judge that there is no ROP.
To find out if your apartment has an ROP, click here.
An expired lease is not a valid reason (also known as a "good cause") to evict a tenant in Albany. However, tenants may face eviction if they refuse to sign a new lease agreement.
Under Albany's new Good Cause Eviction Law, most tenants can only be evicted for certain reasons, also known as "good causes." These include:
An expired lease alone is not a valid reason to evict someone in Albany.
Be Aware: This law does not apply to owner-occupied properties with 4 or fewer units.