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.  Lets begin with the notice requirements that landlords must follow.  


To start the eviction process, the landlord must give the tenant written notice. The type of notice needed will be 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 you or collect back rent from you.  Tenants may have defenses that will cause the judge to deny the landlord’s eviction case. 
  • 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 are 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 of, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings against the tenant through the court system. 

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