Many online articles list the best states in the US for landlords. While states like Texas and Arizona almost always make these Top 10 lists. One state; that you will never see listed is New York. New York is not considered a landlord-friendly state because there are many laws in place that provide tenants with many rights. There are many examples of it taking 6+ months to evict a tenant who has stopped paying rent. Below we discuss the process for grounds for eviction in New York.
Numerous legal issues can affect both tenants and landlords. For example, one common area of interest is the eviction of tenants in a rent-controlled or rent-stabilized unit. Because many people are interested in learning more about this issue, we thought it would help cover it in detail.
Knowing the Basics of Rent Controlled and Stabilized UnitsKnowing the Basics of Rent Controlled and Stabilized Units
Before we can fully explore the grounds for eviction of rent-controlled or rent-stabilized tenants, it’s helpful to understand precisely what these terms mean. While both involve rent regulation, the specific provisions are different.
Although it seems like rent-controlled apartments get the most media attention, rent-stabilized apartments are far more common. According to the 2011 NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey data, there were around 1 million rent-stabilized apartments. In comparison, there were less than 40,000 rent-controlled apartments in New York City.
For an apartment to be rent-controlled, it must be in a building built before February 1947. The other main criterion for rent-controlled apartments is that the tenant or a tenant’s lawful successor has lived in the apartment since July 1st of 1971. It’s worth noting that in the case of an apartment located in a one or two-family home, continuous occupancy must go back to April 1st of 1953.
Definition of rent-stabilized apartmentsDefinition of rent-stabilized apartments
A rent-stabilized unit’s description is one that’s in a building with at least six units and was built between 2/1/47 and 1/1/74. In some cases, rent-stabilized apartments can be found in post-1974 buildings due to unique tax benefits. Rent stabilization can also occur when a previously rent-controlled apartment becomes vacant.
While rent stabilization has had numerous effects since it was instituted in 1969, the two main objectives of this program are to prevent sharp rent increases and provide tenants with the right to renew their leases.
How Does Rent Control and Stabilization Effect Evictions?How Does Rent Control and Stabilization Effect Evictions?
Now that we’ve covered rent control and rent stabilization, it’s time to look at how these issues impact evictions. In the state of New York, an eviction requires going through a court proceeding and obtaining a judgment of possession. If the court grants this judgment, the eviction can be carried out by a constable, marshal, or sheriff.
Regarding rent control and stabilization grounds for eviction, there are situations where DHCR approval must be granted before taking the eviction to court. However, there are six different scenarios where a landlord can begin the eviction proceedings without seeking DHCR approval. Those scenarios are:
- Non-payment of rent
- Failure to cure a violation of a substantial obligation of the tenancy
- Damaging the housing accommodation
- Refusing the owner access to make needed repairs
- Occupancy of the tenant’s housing accommodation is illegal because of the requirements of the law, and the landlord is subject to civil or criminal penalties, therefore, or both.
- The tenant is using or permitting such housing accommodation to be used for an immoral or illegal purpose.
There are also three scenarios in which a landlord can refuse to renew a rent-controlled lease or stabilize UNIT without getting DHCR approval.
Those Eviction scenarios areThose Eviction scenarios are
- Occupancy by the owner or member of the owner’s immediate family member for personal use
- Recovery of the unit by a not for profit institution for use in connection with its charitable or educational purposes
- The tenant is not using the unit as a primary residence.
To clarify, these scenarios do not guarantee that a landlord will be successful in evicting a tenant or not renewing their lease. All it means is that court proceedings can be brought forward without first needing to go through DHCR.
Regarding situations that always require DHCR approval, the four worth noting are:Regarding situations that always require DHCR approval, the four worth noting are:
- Withdrawal from the rental market
- The elimination of unsafe housing to either rehabilitate or demolish it under state or federal laws.
- Conversion to cooperative or condominium ownership
As previously mentioned, rent control or stabilized tenants are protected from arbitrary rent increases by landlords. These tenants also have the right to renewal leases. And in the case of tenants who are senior citizens (at least 62) or disabled, they cannot be evicted on the grounds of owner occupancy.
Taking Over a Lease and DeregulationTaking Over a Lease and Deregulation
In the case of a tenant passing away, protection from eviction may be claimed by a traditional immediate family member, a non-traditional family member, and an adult lifetime partner. In any of these scenarios, the individual eligible for succession has the burden of proof to show that they do indeed have succession rights.
For an apartment that’s currently rent-controlled or stabilized, there are two main ways for it to become deregulated. The first is if the owner or an immediate family member has a compelling need to make the apartment their primary residence. The other possibility is luxury decontrol. This type of deregulation can take the form of either high rent-high income deregulation or high rent-vacancy deregulation. With either option, the apartment must meet specific guidelines.
Grounds for Eviction The Bottom LineGrounds for Eviction The Bottom Line
Tenants in this situation need to uphold their end of the deal. Residing in a rent-controlled or stabilized apartment does provide additional legal protections. As a result of those protections, it can take longer and cost a landlord to evict someone in this apartment. The eviction process in New York City is already lengthy, so landlords would need to exercise patience.
We recommend consulting an attorney if you have any other questions about the often-confusing Rent Controlled or Stabilized laws. An attorney specializing in grounds for eviction is most known to assist you best.