If I have an elderlytenantliving in an apartment without paying rent, can I evict them?

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2011

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If I have an elderlytenantliving in an apartment without paying rent, can I evict them?

This elderly person has been living in the apartment for at least 15 years, then the house ownership was changed over to me and 2 other people. Since the change of ownership, he paid only the first month rent and hasn’t paid anything afterwards (2 years). He was in a nursing home for the past 4 months, now the nursing home wants to place him back in the apartment. Plus, this person has no family and does not speak English. How do we evict him or what else can we do to claim the apartment back? It’s a first floor unit, and we need it back for a family member who has a difficult time going up the stairs. There is no written lease.

Asked on March 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with an attorney with experience in landlord-tenant law to help you. As a general matter, if there is no lease, then the tenant is a month-to-month tenant, which means that a landlord may provide 1 month's notice to terminate the tenancy; if the tenant doesn't leave at point, the landlord may go to the courts to evict. (You *might* be able to evict with an event shorter notice for nonpayment of rent.)

However, there are housing protections for the elderly (which he is) and the disabled (which he may be), so you need advice as to how they effect this case. You also need to double check whether the previous owner had given him any sort of right to the apartment (like a life estate), which may be the case if he's lived there for so long, seemingly without paying. So in general, you should be able to evict, but there are issues here that could complicate matters. That's why you need an attorney assisting you.

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