The Demand for Rent
Before the case can be started, the landlord or someone working for the landlord must demand the overdue rent from the tenant and warn the tenant that the tenant can be evicted if the rent is not paid. The landlord may tell the tenant this in person or writing. If the tenant is told in person, the “demand” must be specific and include the months and amount due. For example, the landlord might say, “You owe the rent for June, July, and August at $900.00 per month, for a total of $2700.00. Are you going to pay?”
However, If the lease requires that this kind of demand be given in writing, it must be in writing. If it is in writing, the rent demand must be delivered to the tenant at least three days before the court papers are served unless the lease requires more days.
If you are a landlord with a one or two-family house, a building with fewer than five apartments, or own a coop or condo, the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program has a free DIY (Do-It-Yourself) computer program to help you make a written Rent Demand. Or you can buy a Rent Demand form at a legal stationery store, like Blumberg.
Starting the Case
If the tenant does not pay the rent after the demand is made, the landlord may file a nonpayment petition (sometimes called a “dispossess”) against the Housing Court tenant. Landlords who do not have a lawyer, who own a one or two-family house, or a building with fewer than five apartments, or own a coop or condo, can use the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program’s free and easy DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Form program to make a nonpayment petition that is ready to print, serve and file to start a case. This program is only for un-regulated housing. There is a fee to start the case.
Or, the landlord may use forms of his or her own or may buy the following forms at a legal stationery store:
2. Notice of Petition
3. Service copies
The nonpayment petition must contain:
1. the interest of the petitioner in the premises;
2. the interest of the respondent in the premises and his/her relationship with the petitioner;
3. a description of the premises;
4. the facts upon which the proceeding is based;
5. the relief sought.
The Rules of the Court also require a petitioner to plead whether the building is a multiple dwelling, and if so, that there is a currently effective registration statement on file with the office of code enforcement, the multiple dwelling registration numbers along with the name and address of the managing agent.
The landlord must fill out the forms, make photocopies, and then bring the forms to the Landlord-Tenant Clerk’s Office to the cashier’s window to buy an index number. Payment may be made by cash, certified check, or money order. Make the money order or certified check payable to the “Clerk of the Civil Court.”
The clerk will stamp the index number on the original forms and will keep the Petition. The clerk will return the Notice of Petition with the index number stamped on the front. The landlord must make sure the tenant receives a copy of the Notice of Petition and the Petition in the manner required by law. Generally, this means hiring a professional eviction service. The process of how to determine which eviction service to call and then how to figure out if they’re the right fit for your case is sure to be an important one, and there can be no doubt that you want to get it right. There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind as you look for the eviction service that is right for you. First, your eviction service should be familiar with the eviction process. Taking advantage of a Free quote can be a great way to get a feel for what the eviction service can offer you and whether or not they treat you as a person or case number. This idea of being more than a case number is important because it can change how the eviction service handles your case.
After serving the papers, the landlord must bring back the original Notice of Petition with the notarized affidavit of service filled out. The landlord must also bring in the stamped postcard so that the court can mail it to the tenant. After the tenant answers, the court will mail a postcard to the landlord stating the court hearing’s date, time, and place. If the tenant does not answer and the rent is still not paid, the landlord can apply for a default judgment based on the tenant’s failure to answer.
Requirements for a Nonpayment Petition
1. The petition must be brought by a person who has a right to recover the property. This may be a landlord, a primary tenant, a roommate who holds a lease in their name, an estate, etc.
2. The respondent must be identified. This is done by providing the respondent’s name, although there might be unidentified undertenants who are styled as John and/or Jane Does.
3. The nature of the agreement by which the respondent entered into the tenancy must be provided. This could be a lease or a month-to-month tenancy and must have some specificity when it began.
4. The amount of rent to be collected and the day on which the rent is to be paid.
5. The location of the premises. The petition must be brought to the county where the building is located.
6. There must be a specific allegation as to the rent due. This normally requires that the amounts due for each rental period be specified. If any other money is due, say for taxes as “additional rent,” or for late or attorney fees, these must be itemized separately and totaled.
7. There must be an allegation as to the rent demand, either that it was oral or in writing. If in writing, the demand and an affidavit of service may be submitted to the court.
8. There must be an allegation that the respondent continues to occupy the premises. If the respondent has left the premises, a nonpayment proceeding may not be maintained.
9. There must be a statement that either the premises are not subject to rent regulation. The reason; or that the premises are subject to rent regulation and the kind of rent regulation that applies.
10. The petition must specify whether the premises is a multiple dwelling or not. If it is, the managing agent’s name and address and the multiple dwelling registration must be supplied.
11. There must be a clause specifying the relief requested. This normally must state whether the respondent uses the premises as a residence or not, the amount of money for which judgment is requested, and the interest date, if interest is sought, as well as a request that the judgment is granted, and a warrant of eviction be issued.
12. The petition must be signed by the petitioner.
13. The petition must be verified. The verification may be made by different persons on behalf of the petitioner or by the petitioner him or herself if a natural person. The verification must be affirmed or sworn to and notarized.
Going to Court
If you received a postcard from the court with a court date, you must appear in the courtroom on that date. Get there early since you will need to go through a metal detector before entering the courthouse. You should bring all your evidence in support of your claim or defense. The first courtroom you go to is called a “Resolution Part.”
For information on serving eviction papers, contact an eviction service, call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST. If you found this article helpful, please consider donating. Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us! We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.