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What is a Holdover Eviction & How to Avoid It

As a residential lease agreement is negotiated and signed, all parties to the lease hope the tenancy proceeds without issues or disagreements. Landlords want tenants to pay rent in a timely manner, use the property for an intended purpose, and upkeep the property throughout the lease term. Tenants want landlords to provide clear instruction on how to pay rent and when, not invade the tenant’s privacy during the lease term, and be available for emergencies involving condition or damage to the property.

These expectations of the parties are true whether it is a commercial or residential lease. It is also true that not all leases proceed or end without problems. The most common issue for residential landlords in Long Island is non-payment of rent by the tenant. An eviction for non-payment of rent begins with a demand for payment of rent, and if left unpaid, can progress through an eviction lawsuit in court.

Do residential evictions for reasons other than non-payment of rent, such as the use of the property for an unlawful purpose or a tenant that occupies past the lease term, proceed in the same manner?

What Is a Holdover Eviction?

In New York, a holdover eviction is a court case by the landlord against the tenant for a reason other than payment of rent. In these cases, a landlord isn’t necessarily seeking financial recovery, but the right to retake possession of the property. A landlord can initiate a holdover eviction for a wide variety of reasons, but these evictions are more complicated and complex than those for simple non-payment of rent.

Some of the most likely reasons a landlord would initiate a holdover eviction are to remove someone occupying the property but not on the lease agreement, when a tenant wrongfully brings a pet on the property, and when a tenant occupies the property past the term of the lease. Residential landlords in Long Island deal with all of these situations on a regular basis.

Process of a Holdover Eviction

Typically, the first step in a holdover eviction happens outside the court system. Under New York law, the landlord must provide the residential tenant with a notice to terminate the leasehold. However, the type of notice that must be provided is dependent on the reason for the eviction. These separate notices are a Notice to Terminate, Notice to Quit, Notice to Cure a Substantial Violation of the Lease, or Notice of Intent Not to Renew a Lease. All of these formal notices are called predicate notices.

In addition to understanding the predicate notice to use, a residential landlord needs to understand the applicable time periods for serving a notice and the legal ways to serve such notice. This time period is likewise dependent on the type of “tenant” and reason for eviction. A Long Island residential real property lawyer is best equipped to determine the proper predicate notice, when to serve it on the tenant, and how to have it served.

Once the notice period has run, a landlord may finally file the proper legal forms for a holdover eviction with the court. These initial court documents have an exact form and must include specific information. Without properly filling out and filing these forms, the court won’t hear your case.

Lease Agreements and Holdover Evictions

The landlord’s right to initiate a holdover eviction case can be found under state law or even within rights provided by the U.S. Constitution, but these aren’t the most common legal basis for a holdover eviction. Most frequently, a landlord asserts rights found in the lease agreement. For any residential lease, the landlord and tenant should have a written, properly executed lease agreement.

The lease provides the obligations, rights, and conditions of the lease. For instance, if the lease says, “no pets allowed under any circumstances,” then the tenant has agreed to forgo the right to own a pet in the rented space. If the tenant does choose to own a dog, then a holdover eviction is possible. This means the lease agreement is a strong tool for the landlord.

Provisions about the use of the property, condition of the property upon termination of the lease, and when the lease ends can all be arranged to provide a landlord more authority and regulation over the space. A landlord can firmly forbid the tenant to sublet or assign the lease, thus making it apparent that other occupiers of the property aren’t allowed. Clear, concise language in the lease ensures a holdover eviction proceeds smoothly and in the landlord’s favor.

The lease agreement is also essential for avoiding holdover evictions. When a tenant is provided clear direction about when and how to use the residential space, it is far less likely there will be a dispute between the parties. A landlord can avoid complications by being exact in the language of the lease and providing straightforward instructions to the tenant.

Need Help with a Trouble Tenant?

A number of landlords attempt to solve their tenant disputes and disagreements without legal assistance. In some instances, a quick conversation with a tenant can solve the problem, but not always. When you need to take further action against a trouble tenant in Long Island, attorney Sami Perez can help. You can reach our local office at (516)-216-5060.



The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Samilde Perez or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.