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Q & A: The Long Eviction Process

By Jay Ramono

Q: When I signed my lease, I also signed a rider stating that when the lease expires I become a month-to-month tenant. Now, a little more than two weeks before my lease is set to expire, my landlord wants me to sign a lease for another year. I have no desire to commit myself for another year as I have been looking to buy an apartment. If I don’t sign the lease, how long will it take for the landlord to evict me?

A: Months.

Adam Leitman Bailey, a Manhattan real estate lawyer, said that if the landlord does not accept rent after the termination of the lease, he can start an eviction action immediately in the New York City Civil Court. If the landlord accepts rent after the expiration of the lease, he is required to serve the tenant with a 30-day notice terminating the tenancy, which would be effective on the last day of the ensuing calendar month. If the tenant does not move on the date specified in the notice, the landlord can then start an eviction proceeding.

In either case, he said, even if the landlord has made no mistakes that would delay the action, it is unlikely that the case would be heard for at least a month or two. “And if there are flaws in any portion of the proceeding,” Mr. Bailey added, “the landlord would have to start the case from scratch.”

But even without flaws in the proceeding, there may be more than one court appearance required, and if the court ultimately orders the eviction of the tenant, it is likely to allow at least two months for the tenant to find a new apartment. “Taking all these factors into consideration, it could be the thick of winter before the writer has to move,” Mr. Bailey said.


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