can i evict someone without a lease and do i get my money for missed payments

i rent my parents property to help pay the taxes until i can sell the house and close the estate. i have tenants there that pay 500 a month for a 5 bedroom house. the guy lost his job and hasnt paid us in three months. how can i legally evict them without complications. there was no lease and we are located in western new york

Asked on March 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You may always evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent--even if there is only an oral (sometimes incorrectly called verbal) lease or agreement. If the tenant pays prior to the lock-out, you'd then have to let the tenant stay--but then at least you have your money. Assuming he doesn't pay, you simply file an eviction action for nonpayment of rent. You can get forms and instructions from your county court (in person or  possibly on the web).

Note that an eviction action will not give you a monetary judgment--it only gives you possession. You are, however, allowed to seek recovery of unpaid rent; you would do so by bringing a separate legal action seeking the money, based on breach of contract (including again, the oral lease). You could bring this in small claims court, where you could represent yourself and avoid legal fees. Of course, if the tenant truly has no money, you could find yourself winning the lawsuit but still unable to collect.

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