What canI do if I’m being evicted for having a dispute with my landladyand have been served with a notice to vacate?

My landlady is my cousin and takes liberties with me that I know are not legal (e.g. showing up at my door without the proper notification). Anytime I challenge her, she explodes and threatens to evict me. I’ve passed all inspections for over a year, paid my rent on time, and have been a good tenant. We were close until she verbally abused my 9-year old niece, showed up unannounced to clean junk left by the previous tenants, and left a mess in my driveway. We had words. Now she’s evicting me, even though I just re-newed my lease last month. The judge I must go in front of is pals with her. How do I get an impartial judge to hear my case?

Asked on March 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are going to have to fork over some money and get an attorney here to make sure that your rights are protected.  A Judge that knows one of the parties to the litigation on a personal basis needs to recuse  themselves - step down as the judge from hearing and deciding the matter - so as not to give an "appearance of impropriety" in the case.  Your attorney needs to request that on the record - i.e., with a court reporter present - so that should the decision come out that is contrary to the law you would have additional basis for the appeal.  Now, if you have binding contract - a valid lease - then eviction could only be for breach of the lease agreement or a breach interpreted under the law.  Get help.  Good luck. 


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