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  • Carl J. Muraco

I am a Small Landlord, can I evict?

How to evict a tenant as a small landlord

Article 6A, Good Cause Eviction has created an "exemption" for "small landlords". A small landlord is defined is as an owner who has 10 units or less in NY excluding their primary residence. For example: if an owner has 5 two family houses and lives in there own single family house then said owner will qualify as a small landlord. If you own 10 units or less you qualify as a small landlord and therefore you can evict your tenant for any reason or for no reason however proper notice must be given. Evictions are created by statute therefore each specific type of eviction requires strict compliance with proper notices and proper procedures. Below is some general information. This shall not be deemed legal advice and I strongly advise to obtain an attorney to commence any eviction proceeding.


What is proper notice for a month to month tenant?

If your tenant is a month to month tenant then you can commence a holdover eviction proceeding after the proper notice expires. If your tenant has lived in the unit for less than 1 year then a 30 day notice is required; if your tenant has lived in the unit between 1-2 years then a 60 day notice is required; if your tenant has lived in the unit for 2 or more years then a 90 day notice is required. These notices must be served pursuant to RPAPL 735 and the termination date should end on the last day of the term.


What if my tenant has a lease?

If your tenant has a lease then you have options on the type of eviction proceeding to commence. If they owe rent then you can commence a nonpayment proceeding after serving a 14 day rent demand.

If you tenant has a lease that is expiring soon then you can send the tenant a notice of non-renewal but you must give the correct amount of time. This notice of non-renewal should either be 30, 60 or 90 days and must end on the last day of the lease. If your tenant has lived in the unit for less than 1 year then a 30 day notice is required; if your tenant has lived in the unit between 1-2 years then a 60 day notice is required; if your tenant has lived in the unit for 2 or more years then a 90 day notice is required.


What if the occupant is not a tenant?

A tenant is someone who you permitted to stay in a place in exchange for rent. If a person did not ever agree nor pay you rent then they are not a tenant and they may be deemed a licensee, "tenant at will" or squatter.

A Licensee is an occupant who received permission from you or from the previous tenant of record to stay in the premises but never paid rent to you the Landlord. Some example of licensees are subtenants, friends and family, ex-partners of tenants who have vacated and/or friends and family of tenants who have died. This type of occupant requires a 10 day notice.

A Tenant at will is an occupant that you have given permission to remain in an entire premises for free such as friend or family that you allowed to stay in the unit for free and they had exclusive use of the entire space. A roommate does not qualify as a "tenant at will", typically it would have to be an entire apartment that they occupy and you never asked nor accepted rent. This type of "tenant at will" requires a 30 day notice.

A Squatter is an occupant who has taken possession of a premises or space without permission from anyone. Typically the squatter breaks in or sneaks into the premises. The term squatter is a legal term for this type of occupant; if someone gave them permission to enter the premises then they are not a squatter and would typically be a licensee. Squatter's require a 10 day notice.


Being a landlord in NYC has become more complicated than ever. The majority of respondents in housing court now get free counsel with experienced attorneys who attempt to have the cases dismissed. It is vital that all procedures are strictly followed and you bring the correct type of eviction. You should retain a landlord attorney to handle the process to ensure everything is done properly and expeditiously. Call my office now to start the process 718-938-9732. We handle evictions everyday and we have the experience to get the job done the first time.


*required disclaimer: this post may be deemed attorney advertising; anything in here shall not be deemed legal advice as it is only intended for general informational purposes.



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