Evicting Illegal Basement Tenants

NYC Real Estate

MAY 16, 2023

Evicting a tenant from any property can be a complex and sensitive process. However, when dealing with an illegal basement apartment in NYC, there are additional considerations and legal implications that landlords must be aware of.

Verify legality of basement apartment

Before initiating an eviction, it is crucial to establish the illegal status of the basement apartment. It is illegal to rent out a basement as a separate dwelling unit in many cases, as per NYC building codes. Reach out to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) or consult with a legal professional to confirm the apartment's status. Documentation and evidence supporting the apartment's illegal nature will be necessary to proceed with the eviction process.

Communicate with the tenant

Open lines of communication with your tenant to discuss the situation. Inform them about the illegal status of the basement apartment and the potential consequences. Attempt to reach a mutual agreement regarding the tenant's relocation. Depending on the circumstances, the tenant may voluntarily choose to move out, resolving the issue without a formal eviction process.

Consult an attorney

Given the complexity of evictions and the specific legal requirements in NYC, it is advisable to seek guidance from an experienced attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law. They can help navigate the eviction process and ensure you follow the correct legal procedures, minimizing the risk of potential complications or disputes.

Serve proper eviction notices

If the tenant is unwilling to move voluntarily, the eviction process must commence. Begin by serving an eviction notice, such as a "Notice to Cure" or "Notice to Quit." These documents formally inform the tenant about the violation of the lease agreement and provide a specified timeframe to rectify the situation or vacate the premises. Ensure that these notices are properly drafted, comply with NYC regulations, and are delivered using an approved method.

File a petition with the court

If the tenant fails to comply with the eviction notice within the given timeframe, it may be necessary to initiate legal proceedings. Consult with your attorney to file a petition for eviction with the appropriate housing court in NYC. This petition will outline the grounds for eviction and detail the reasons for the tenant's non-compliance.

Attend court hearings

Once the petition is filed, both parties will be summoned to attend a court hearing. Present your case, along with any evidence supporting the illegal nature of the basement apartment, to the judge. It is crucial to have legal representation during this process to ensure your rights are protected and to navigate any potential counterclaims or defenses from the tenant.

Obtain a warrant of eviction

If the court rules in your favor and grants an eviction order, you will need to obtain a warrant of eviction from the court. This document authorizes law enforcement officials to physically remove the tenant from the premises if necessary. Serve the warrant to the tenant, and coordinate with local authorities to execute the eviction order lawfully.

Follow proper procedures

During the eviction process, it is crucial to adhere to all legal requirements and guidelines provided by the court. Engaging the services of a professional eviction company can help ensure a smooth and lawful execution. It is essential to handle the eviction process with sensitivity, respecting the tenant's rights while lawfully reclaiming your property.

This content is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice.


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