How do I evict a tenant who refuses to leave?

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How do I evict a tenant who refuses to leave?

I currently have a tenant who’s lease was up over 4 months ago. He’s used up his security deposit and is still currently residing in the apartment with no clear intentions of leaving. I have a rent receipt with his signature stating that he would be out as of 2 months ago. He is still paying rent, however the real issue is his refusal to leave. Should I start the eviction process now, take him to court, or continually raise his rent every month? Is it legal to have his possessions removed from the property without his consent?

Asked on January 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, do not be tempted to take any self-help measures such a removing this tenant's possessions, changing the locks, etc. You could be sued for illegal eviction. As this point since their lease has expired but they are still paying rent they are considered to be a month-to-month tenant under the law.What you have to do now is to serve this tenant notice to quit the premises (typically 30 days). If they fail to leave by the date specified in the notice, then you will have to go to court and file an "unlawful detainer" action (i.e. eviction lawsuit). Once a judge issues a writ of possession, then if your tenant has still failed to vacate, you can have a sheriff remove them.

Since this whole process must be done according to specific state statutory procedures, you may want to consult directly with an real estate attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant cases in your area.


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