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Re: Notice to Vacate

Posted by Dayann on July 14, 2001 at 18:19:18:

In Reply to: Notice to Vacate posted by Mary on July 11, 2001 at 16:00:05:

LL can ask you to leave whenever he wants and doesn't need a valid reason, and even if you had a lease, he wouldn't be required to tell you about the sale.

If you aren't out in 30 days LL will do one or both of these two things: harass the crap out of you so that you are afraid and miserable and run out of there (harassment is illegal but often hard to prove), or go to court and get a Notice of Petition and Petition. The Petition is asking the Court to give your LL possession of the Premises, in other words, your landlord has to file papers asking the judge to evict you. You should get the Notice of Petition and Petition by personal service or by certified mail. If the LL doesn't serve the notice properly or file an affidavit in court proving the papers were properly served on you, he technically has to start all over, but if you get the papers, you should show up at court even if you aren't properly served, because if he appears in court and you don't, the LL gets a default judgment against you -- meaning, that he basically gets what he asks for, and you have no say in the matter.

When you go to court, you can explain your situation to the judge. Show proof of your situation -- one of your biggest defenses is that you have a disabled child who needs special accomodations and therefore you need more time to find a place that is suitable for your family to live in. The judge can give you up to 6 months to move. If he decides to give you 6 months, you get what is called a "stay". That means that your LL gets permission to evict you, but the Court is ordering him to wait 6 months before he files the papers necessary to have you removed. YOUR LL CANNOT THROW YOU OR YOUR BELONGINGS OUT ON THE STREET. The only way your LL can evict you is if he gets an order from the Court saying you are supposed to get out. Once that order is received, he has to serve it to you according to the rules of due process, and you have time (very little, but still some time) to get your belongings and kids out of the apartment. If you still remain on the property after you've been issued legal eviction papers, you can still petition the court for more time via an Order to Show Cause. Your landlord can't forcibly remove you from the premises, only a sheriff or marshall can do that, and sheriffs or marshalls have to be mandated by the court to throw your things out, change locks, etc. Evicting someone is not automatic and not easy, even if you have a month to month tenancy. This is from personal experience.

If your relationship with the LL has been good and this is only due to the sale of the property, I would try to talk to the LL to ask for more time. If the LL gives you more time, get it in writing. Also, Deeds are a matter of public record. You can go to the nearest office of the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance and figure out what the block and lot number of your building is, then look it up on microfilm and get a copy of the new Deed, which should tell you who the new owner of the house is. Then, once you know who the new owner will be, perhaps you can arrange to meet with him/her or write a very nice, friendly letter to the new owner explaining your situation and asking if he will allow you to stay on the property as his tenant. If you can get something in writing that shows the new owner of the house is agreeing to let you live there, and that you'll begin paying rent to the new owner once the closing of sale is over with, then you may be able to stay where you are and avoid an eviction. Be sure to get everything in writing, and be sure that you always send letters to your LL by hand delivery AND by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can back yourself up in court if you are served that Notice of Petition and Petition.

NOW, I am not 100 percent sure, but I think there are laws on the books about evicting disabled persons. If you have a disabled child, the LL may have to give you more time even if it is a month to month tenancy, but I am not sure, don't quote me on it. I say this because I have a family member who is mentally ill and her month to month LL tried to evict her. There are special protections under the law for mentally ill people, because the City does not want someone who is disabled or mentally ill to end up on the street and present a danger to others or themselves, or end up having to get more tax dollars from the city because they have no where to go. Now mental illness is considered a disability. I think the laws used to help my family may also apply to your kid, if your kid has a physical disability.

Try calling the Urban Justice League. They are listed in the phone book, or you can get their number by directory assistance (411). They specifically work with disabled people in danger of eviction. One of the advocates there might be able to tell you what rights your disabled family member has, and then you will know exactly what to say if and when you have to face the judge. BE SURE TO DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Bring medical records or letters from doctors, and if possible, bring the disabled child. The judge would have to be a pretty evil person to see a disabled kid in a wheelchair or whatever standing there and not give you the maximum amount of time he can possibly issue you by law.

Look for a new place to go, but at the same time, see if you can negotiate something with the person who's buying the house. I think a lot of people would consider the extra income an asset and might be willing to let you just stay there. Who knows?

Good luck to you.

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