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Expiration of Lease; Month-to-Month Tenancy

Posted by New York Tenant on May 04, 2001 at 11:26:03:

This Q & A from the May 4th Real Estate section of the online edition of Newsday is a good summary of New York law about the expiration of a lease and about a month-to-month tenancy.

The attorney quoted is a partner in one of the largest landlord law firms in the New York City metroplitan area, but his answer gives good practical information. However, outside New York City, the landlord has to give a one-month (not 30-day) notice to end a month-to-month tenancy, and the notice doesn't have to be in writing.

"Q. I was told a landlord has to give a tenant 30 days notice before the end of a lease on an apartment in a two-family house in Queens. If notice is not given, the tenant can stay on without a lease. There would be no penalty, such as a rent increase. The tenant also couldn't be told, after the lease had expired, that he had to move. Instead, he could stay indefinitely. Are these things true?

A. No, said Eric M. Goidel, a landlord/tenant attorney and partner in the Manhattan law firm Borah Goldstein Altschuler Schwartz & Nahins. When there is a written lease, no notice has to be sent that it is ending. The tenant must move when the lease expires unless a renewal is given.

Should the lease expire and the tenant is allowed to remain, he becomes what is called a month-to- month tenant, Goidel said. The tenant can continue renting until the landlord issues a 30-day notice to leave.

In New York City, this notice must be served to the tenant by a process server, he said. It can't be mailed as in Nassau or Suffolk counties.

Once the tenant stays on after the lease has ended, the landlord can only raise the rent if the tenant agrees, Goidel said. If the tenant doesn't agree, but continues to stay on, the landlord can't bring a non-payment proceeding in court to obtain the higher rent or to get rid of the tenant. He must bring a holdover proceeding. The case goes to housing court, and a judge can allow the tenant to remain for up to 6 months more before vacati

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