What are my rights if I rented a apartment from a landlord but he never did a credit check or gave me a lease?

He now wants me out after living there for a year but it is very hard for me to get another apartment because I don’t have any credit; no landlord wants to give an apartment to someone with kids and my rent budget. I am paying my current landlord the rent on time too but he still is telling me to move out he needs the apt empty. Worst case scenario what’s the worst he can do? Can he kick me out whenever he feels like it? Or does he have to take me to court to evict me?

Asked on August 14, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

Mark Siegel / Law Office of Mark A. Siegel

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Generally, under NY law, a tenant who pays rent on a month to month basis & who has occupied an apartment for 1 month or longer, without a written lease, is considered a month to month tenant. 

You didn't mention whether the building you reside in contains 6 or more residential units. In that case, the apartments would be subject to the NY rent stabilization law & the landlord would be required to offer the rent stabilized tenants a 1 or 2 year lease, at the tenant's option, at a fixed percentage increase (& in addition there may also be a surcharge allowed by law), depending on whether the tenant chooses a 1 or 2 year lease. A landlord can seek to evict a rent stabilized tenant, but only under designated grounds specified in the NY rent stabilization law. 

However, if the building contains less than 6 residential units, generally, it would not be subject to the NY rent stabilization law & the landlord would not be obligated to give the tenant a lease. 

Under NY law, a month to month tenancy can be terminated by properly serving a 30 day notice of termination. After the notice of termination expires, if the tenant hasn't vacated the apt, the landlord must commence an eviction proceeding in the local court, by properly serving the tenant with a holdover petition & notice of petition. The petition seeks a final judgment of possession from the court. If the landlord & the tenant cannot reach an agreement as to when the tenant will surrender the apt, the landlord is required to prove his/her case at a trial before the judge. The tenant has the right to retain a private attorney at their own expense, or, if you qualify, you may be entitled to representation by a legal aid attorney at no cost. 

If the landlord succeeds in proving his/her case, the judge will enter a judgment of possession & issue a warrant of eviction to the sheriff or marshal. The sheriff or marshal is required to serve the tenant with a notice of eviction before evicting the tenant under the warrant. The judge has the discretionary power to stay the eviction upon the tenant's written application (motion) to the court, upon a satisfactory showing of good cause or hardship. The court has the power to stay the eviction anywhere from a few days, up to, but no more than 6 months from the date the judgment was entered. Of course, the tenant is ordinarily required to pay the landlord (called use & occupancy) for any extended period of time granted by the judge. Good luck!     


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