Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 13, 2020

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If you have served the tenant with a demand or termination notice in the way prescribed by law and they have failed to comply, you may now bring a lawsuit in Civil Court. To do so, you must file the necessary papers with the court, pay a fee, and then serve the tenant (see How Do I Serve Notice?). The tenant is then given a period to respond. If they do not respond, you can apply for a default judgment in your favor. If the tenant answers, then you will receive a postcard from the court with the details of your court hearing. At trial, both you and the tenant will have the opportunity to present evidence.

For Nonpayment Cases: If the judge finds that the tenant owes rent, the judge will give the tenant five (5) days to pay the amount. You must accept the rent money within the five (5) days. If the rent money is not paid, you may evict the tenant.

For Holdover Cases: If the judge finds that you have proven your case, the judge may give the tenant some time to leave or time to cure (up to six months). The tenant will still have to pay rent during that time or be evicted earlier.

Once a court has authorized you to evict a tenant, you may now have the appropriate official (a City Marshal in New York City) ask for a warrant of eviction. You may not evict the tenant by yourself. The official will then serve the tenant with a notice of eviction. The tenant may come back to court to ask for more time. If this happens, you will be served with an “Order to Show Cause” requiring you to come back to court on a specific day. If at any time you think you are over your head, you can always seek the advice and counsel of a New York evictions attorney.