Evicting Tenants in New York City

As our firm handles more and more landlord/tenant case in New York City, a pattern seems to be repeating itself. The more we go to court, the more we realize that court is the sometimes the least efficient way to proceed against a tenant who refuses to leave. Why would an attorney say this? Because it’s the truth. There are some instances where we will literally counsel a client to HELP the non-paying client find another place to stay and relocate. That’s right. We will HELP them find another place to stay.

Why would we do such a thing? Well lets take a look at the simple mathematics involved. Let’s say a tenant pays $1,200/month and has now failed to pay rent for one month. You decide to take the tenant to court. Typically it takes about one month before you can see a judge. Thereafter, if the tenant comes in, he/she can request an attorney and the case will be delayed for another month. So you’re now $3,600 in the hole and the case has not been heard yet. Needless to say if and when the case is finally heard, the judge may demand that the tenant pay whats called Use and Occupancy charges, but if the tenant does not, by the time the actual eviction occurs (after the tenant filing numerous Orders to Show Cause), you may be missing approximately $6,000 worth of rent on a non-collectible tenant.

That’s the bad news. So how do we circumvent this process to the landlord’s benefit? Well first we still continue going forward on the legal end. However, we also approach the tenant and help them look for a new place to live and even offer to cover part of their relocation costs. Many of you may be becoming angrier and angrier as you read this. That is expected and absolutely normal. However, at the end of the day this is a numbers game. How much are you willing to pay to lose LESS. In other words, are you willing to pay relocation costs of $600 in order to save yourself the $5400 you would have lost had the tenant remained in possession and you kept the relocation costs in your pocket. This is reality. While hesitant at first, many of our clients find that at the end of the day the method we employ to get out problem tenants works to their benefit. Mix this with our previous advice of stringent background/credit/criminal checks and you decrease the possibility of problem tenancies dramatically. Just some food for thought.