Can a landlord only now just charge a tenant for rent allegedly due almost 3 years ago?

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2011

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Can a landlord only now just charge a tenant for rent allegedly due almost 3 years ago?

My mom moved into the apartment in 05/08; she signed her lease in 07/08. Repairs were done in the apartment in 09-10/08, since it was not repaired before she moved in. The landlord, now in 01/11 charging her for 05-0 7/08 rent. The landlord now has taken her to court for those months rent of that year. Is this valid? She was also improperly served.

Asked on January 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The time that someone has to sue is called the "statute of limitations." The statute of limitations in New York for contracts--and that's what a lease is; a contract--is 6 years; that means that a landlord could sue for rent up to 6 years after it was due.

If the service was improper, you may be able to get the case dismissed on that grounds. However, the dismissal will be "without prejudice," which means that the landlord could re-file the case and reserve (the court may also allow him to "cure," or fix the service without refiling first). This means that winning on account of bad service is usually just a temporary win. Your mother may wish to consider settling this case for something less than the full amount, if possible.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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