If you ever find yourself holding a Notice to Vacate, it’s always better to be the one sending it rather than receiving it. This is a notice sent to a tenant by their landlord to vacate the property, remove all possessions, and return the keys by a specified date. Receiving one in NYC is particularly bad because your housing options are so limited. If you don’t think so, then obviously you’ve never tried to find an apartment in NYC in less than 30 days. Below is everything you need to understand about receiving a Notice to Vacate sooner. The sooner you know what it means, the calmer you’ll be should you ever receive one.
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Two kinds of Notice to Vacate
First off, a Notice to Vacate can come from either a tenant or landlord. When sent by a tenant to a landlord, it’s simply a letter notifying of their intention not to renew the lease and move out by the end of the lease term. There’s not much else to this. The tenant moves out with all their stuff; the landlord finds a new tenant and life goes on. Things get a little more interesting though if it’s a tenant who’s receiving one from their landlord. This is usually followed by said tenant feeling an unpleasant sensation in their stomach.
Landlord Issues a Notice to Vacate
If this happens to you, then you are now on the point of being evicted, usually for nonpayment of rent. It is crucial that you remain calm and act quickly. A worst-case scenario would be receiving a 3-day Notice to Vacate. This informs the tenant that they have three days to pay all due rent or vacate the premises. If they do not pay or move out within three days, then the landlord can file for eviction
In any case, if it is in your power to do so, pay all your rent to date immediately. If you’ve fallen too far behind, then arrange a meeting with your landlord. Maybe you can work out some kind of payment plan. If you’ve been a model tenant up until now and are only going through some temporary financial difficulties, they might be more reasonable in working out a solution. The Notice to Vacate could be a notification that you’re on thin ice and that you better pay now.
Hoping tenant will leave
However, it could also just as easily be a notification that the landlord wants you out. They hope that you’ll leave quietly so they can avoid a lengthy and costly eviction process. Even if you do receive a 3-day notice and then promptly pay all due rent, the landlord may still send you a 30-day Notice to Vacate. If a landlord has a tenant who isn’t paying their rent on time, it’s in their best interest to get them out. Then find someone else who will comply with the rental agreement. If you receive a 3-day Notice to Vacate (known here as a “Demand for Rent”), then you should take it as a clear sign that your landlord wishes to evict you.
This can even happen to model tenants through the termination of a month-to-month lease or refusal to renew a long-term one. A landlord usually does this because they want to raise the rent on the apartment. But they can’t so long as the current tenant remains there.
What Can You Do About It?
It’s important to point out that a Notice to Vacate in NYC is not an eviction notice. Nor does it terminate the lease agreement. However, if you overstay or wish to challenge the notice, things will then move into the eviction process. When this happens, the landlord has to file a petition in court and give an adequate reason for the eviction. The tenant will receive notice of the date time and location of hearing where they will have to make their case.
If you believe you are unjustly evicted, then be ready to fight. This will increase the time it takes for an eviction process. A tenant may have several valid defenses such as the landlord making procedural mistakes. For instance, improperly serving a notice or not waiting for the allotted time before starting the eviction process. Other defenses can include the landlord not maintaining the rental unit according to the law or the landlord discriminating against the tenant.
Tenant Issues a Notice to Vacate
This is much simpler. In New York City, you still have to give the landlord at least 30 days notice, though. This is the case even if you do not have a lease. You merely provide your notice to vacate. The only information you need to provide is your name, address, and that you are giving the notice to vacate that you are leaving on a certain date.
You do not need to provide a good reason or any at all. All you have to do is leave the property in the same condition you found it to receive your security deposit back.
If the landlord serves you with a notice to vacate before your lease’s expiration, you have certain defenses at your disposal. Remember, he or she can only do so for cause. For instance, paying your rent within the three-day notice to vacate puts you back in good standing.
However, should the landlord proceed, he or she must file a petition in court stating the reasons for your eviction. Then, the court issues a hearing date, time, and place for both of you to show up. While the legal process plays out, your landlord cannot take specific retaliatory action, such as cutting off your heat.