Eviction Process FAQ

The Eviction Process

In New York City, there are strict legal requirements that a landlord must follow to evict a tenant, which include notice requirements that must be provided to tenants prior to filing an eviction case. In the event the landlord does not provide the proper notice requirements, the eviction case can be dismissed. In addition, tenants may have numerous defenses available to them that may prevent a landlord from collecting back rent or evicting a tenant. We have represented numerous tenants and landlords in all types of residential and commercial eviction cases. We are well versed in the law and the arguments that courts often find persuasive. Let’s begin with the notice requirements that landlords must follow to start an eviction case.


To start the eviction process, the landlord must give the tenant written notice. The type of notice required is determined by the landlord’s reason for eviction, such as failure to pay rent or violating a term of the lease.

  • Fourteen-Day Notice due to Failure to Pay Rent: If the tenant does not pay rent, the landlord must give the tenant a fourteen-day notice to pay rent or quit the tenancy (move out.) This notice informs the tenant that the tenant has fourteen days to either pay rent in full or move out. If the tenant does not pay the rent or move out, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court at the end of the fourteen days. See N.Y. Real Prop. Acts § 711(2)). Keep in mind, just because a landlord files an eviction lawsuit does not automatically mean the landlord will be able to evict the tenant or collect back rent from a tenant. Tenants may have defenses that will cause the judge to deny the landlord’s eviction case or prevent a landlord from collecting back rent. A primary reason for hiring an experienced eviction attorney, is to determine defenses available based on a given situation. For example, renting out an illegal basement may prevent the landlord from collecting back rent from a tenant.

  • Notice to Cure and Notice of Termination: If the landlord attempts to evict the tenant because the tenant has violated a term of the lease, the landlord must provide the tenant with two different types of notice.
    • Notice to Cure: The notice to cure is the first notice the landlord must provide to the tenant, which explains the landlord’s reasons he thinks the tenant is in violation of the lease. For example, a landlord could claim that the tenant is engaged in illegal activity on the premises and that this is violating a term in the lease. This notice informs the tenant that the tenant has ten days to correct the lease violation. If the tenant fixes the problem, the landlord cannot take further steps against the tenant. However, if the tenant does not correct the violation, the landlord can then give the tenant a notice of termination.

    • Notice of Termination: After the notice to cure has been provided to the tenant and not been complied with, the landlord can give the tenant a notice of termination. The notice of termination informs the tenant that the tenancy has been terminated because the tenant failed to correct the lease violation, and the tenant has 30 days to move out of the premises. If the tenant does not move out, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings against the tenant through the court system. Queens Eviction Attorneys are experienced in eviction proceedings, representing both landlords and tenants.

Tenant Defenses to Eviction

Even though a landlord thinks there is cause to evict a tenant, the tenant may decide to fight the eviction. When representing a tenant, Queens Eviction Attorneys will study the tenant’s particular case to determine if the tenant has defenses available to stop eviction or prevent the landlord from collecting back rent. Some defenses may include, the landlord made a procedural mistake during the notice requirements (such as, improperly serving a notice of eviction on a tenant or not waiting long enough before filing the eviction lawsuit against the tenant.) Other potential defenses include the landlord’s failure to maintain the rental unit according to law, the landlord attempting to evict a tenant in retaliation for making a complaint about the property (retaliatory eviction), the landlord discriminating against the tenant (it is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant based on creed, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or military status), the landlord making illegal alterations to the property, and many other grounds that may be available to a tenant. Queens Eviction Attorneys will present the tenant’s defenses to a Judge in Court. If the Judge is convinced the tenant has a valid legal defense, the Judge may prevent the landlord from evicting the tenant or collecting back rent and may dismiss the eviction case entirely. In some instances, tenants have mounted defenses that resulted in delaying eviction for years. Tenants and landlords should keep in mind that each eviction case is unique and requires an independent evaluation of the facts and law to determine what defenses are available in a given situation. Contact the Queens Eviction Attorneys to find out how our eviction lawyers can assist you with your eviction case.