What to Do When You Get An Eviction Notice

Written by Cate Carrejo
Updated 12/16/2019

According to the New York City Council, tenants in over 19,000 apartments experienced an eviction from their home in 2018. Eviction is a terrifying reality, but just because you’ve received an eviction notice doesn’t automatically mean you have to leave your home. If you have no idea what to do when you get an eviction notice, don’t panic — there are several options for how you can proceed depending on why your landlord says they want to evict you.

Step 1: Determine Why You’re Receiving The Eviction Notice

According to the New York Attorney General’s Tenants’ Rights Guide, there are really only two acceptable reasons for a landlord to evict a tenant: either the tenant stopped paying rent, or they’re somehow in violation of their lease. Your landlord is required to give you a written eviction notice about the reason they are evicting you, which will determine your next steps for responding to the notice.

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Step 2: Fix Your Lease Violation If You Can

If you’re allegedly in violation of your lease agreement, you have 10 days to fix the violation before the landlord can begin a court proceeding against you. If at all possible, try to resolve the issue with your landlord before they move forward in the legal process — an eviction on your record can make it harder for you to rent an apartment in the future. 

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Step 3: Make Sure Your Landlord Is Following The Letter of the Law

If you can’t resolve the issue with your landlord directly, it’s up to the landlord to make sure they are strictly following the legal guidelines for the eviction or the whole process could be invalidated. Only the City Marshall’s office has the power to forcibly remove a tenant from their apartment, and your landlord can never make you leave under threat of violence or retaliation. 

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Step 4: Get A Lawyer, Possibly For Free

All New Yorkers, regardless of income, are entitled to a lawyer to advocate for them in housing court. If you feel your landlord is wrongfully trying to evict you, you might have the right to a free lawyer depending on your income and zip code. If you get an eviction notice, visit EvictionFreeNYC.org to find out if you qualify for a free lawyer and start fighting back! Even if you don’t qualify for a free attorney, EvictionFreeNYC will also list out the nearby free legal clinics and community organizations that you can visit before your court date.

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Want to take action?

Respond to an eviction notice

Learn how to respond to an eviction notice and connect with legal resources with Eviction Free NYC.

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Learn more about the fight to defend tenant housing rights

Check out the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition for more information on the fight for housing rights in NYC and learn what you can do to help build more power for tenants.

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Exercise Your Tenant Rights

JustFix.nyc creates tools to protect your housing rights, from getting repairs to responding to eviction notices. Enter your address to see our tools.

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