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Unlawful Evictions (lockouts)

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:42 am
by TenantNet
New York City
Police Department
Patrol Guide 214-12 Unlawful Evictions

Date Effective: 01-01-00


To protect the rights of a person who is being or has been unlawfully evicted from his dwelling unit.


UNLAWFUL EVICTIONS - Purpose of the law is to discourage, through the imposition of substantial criminal and civil penalties, unlawful evictions to occupants of dwelling units, by methods which often involve:

a. Force and violence, or

b. The denial of essential services, or

c. Other serious Building Code and Health Code violations.

The law makes it unlawful for any person to evict or attempt to evict an
occupant by:

a. Using or threatening to use force, or

b. Interruption or discontinuance of essential services (heat, electricity, water), or

c. Removing the occupant's possessions from the dwelling, or

d. Removing the entrance door or

e. Removing, plugging or rendering inoperable the entrance door lock, or

f. Changing the lock on such entrance door without supplying the occupant with a key.

Unless a Warrant of Eviction or Government Order to Vacate has been executed, the protective provisions of this law apply in the following circumstances:

a. When an individual occupies a dwelling unit pursuant to a lease; or

b. When an individual has lawfully occupied a dwelling unit for thirty (30) or more consecutive days; or

c. When an individual occupies a dwelling unit within a hotel which is subject to registration under the rent stabilization law (generally single-room occupancies [S.R.O.'S]) and has requested a lease pursuant to provisions of the rent stabilization law.

DWELLING - Any building or structure or portion thereof which is occupied in whole or in part as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings. Qualifying "dwellings" include:

a. One (1) or two (2) family homes

b. Multiple dwellings.

DWELLING UNIT - Any residential accommodation within a dwelling.

MULTIPLE DWELLING - A dwelling which is either rented, leased, let or hired out, to be occupied, or is occupied, or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied, as the residence or home of three (3) or more families living independently of each other. A multiple dwelling includes apartment buildings and hotels. A multiple dwelling does not include:

a. A hospital, convent, monastery, asylum or public institution, or

b. A fireproof building used wholly for commercial purposes except it may contain one (1) janitor's apartment, and one (1) penthouse occupied by not more than two (2) families.

OWNER - Any person, firm or corporation directly or indirectly in control of a dwelling.

NOTE: A tenant who subleases his dwelling unit is in the position of an "owner" with respect to his sub-tenant.


When a uniformed member of the service has probable cause to believe that a person has been unlawfully evicted from his dwelling unit:


1. Prepare summons in cases where the violator is properly identified and occupant is permitted to reenter the dwelling.

a. Follow P.G. 209-09, "Personal Service Of Sumonses Returnable To Traffic Violations Bureau Or Criminal Court."

b. Prepare a separate summons for each offense

c. Make summons returnable to the decentralized Criminal Court located in the borough of issuance:

(1) Consult ACTIVITY LOG insert COMMON SUMMONSABLE OFFENSES (PD160-102) for borough court locations

(2) Enter return dates for each borough as indicated in ADDITIONAL DATA statement below

d. Complete "Information Section" on rear of summons.

(1) Specific details of the violation must be provided.

NOTE: If offense was committed in the presence of officer, the officer will sign the Information. When not committed in officer's presence, the officer must ascertain that a crime was committed and request complainant to sign the Information. If complainant refuses, officer may sign, "based on information and belief," provided all details as related to the officer by the complainant are included in the Information.

If a civilian is the complainant, delete the word "Complainant" and substitute the word "Officer" on the bottom two (2) lines of front of summons. In addition, draw line through the words, "I personally observed the commission of the offense charged above" immediately above the "Rank/Signature of Complainant" caption. In addition, in every case in which a civilian complainant is involved, the name, address, and telephone number of the complainant will be entered along the left margin on the reverse side of the summons.

e. Personally serve violator with Criminal Court (pink) copy of summons.

f. Process remaining copies according to normal procedures.

2. Effect an arrest where the violator:

a. Cannot be properly identified, or

b. Refuses to permit occupant to re-enter or who through physical obstruction prevents the occupant from re-entering.

NOTE: When an arrest is necessary, the violator shall be brought to criminal court for prompt arraignment. A desk appearance ticket shall not be issued.

3. Refer evicted persons who are unable to secure temporary housing to Department of Social Services, Emergency Assistance Unit, 241 Church Street, telephone number (212) 344-5241.


Return dates are to be scheduled at least twenty one (21) days from date summons was issued, on the day of the week indicated, according to borough where summons was issued:

* Manhattan Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
* Queens Tuesday
* Bronx Friday
* Brooklyn Monday
* Staten Island Thursday

Unlawful eviction is a class "A" misdemeanor, however, it is not a fingerprintable offense.

Substantial civil penalties may also be sought through Corporation Counsel in appropriate cases.

When it has been determined that a continuous pattern of unlawful eviction activity exists at a particular location, the precinct commander will confer with Legal Bureau personnel regarding initiation of civil action through the Corporation Counsel.

If there is a potential for violence between Family/Household members, the demanding of entrance under this procedure is not required. Officers may decline to issue a summons or effect an arrest for unlawful eviction in domestic violence cases.

Mentally Ill or Emotionally Disturbed Persons (P.G. 216-05)
Personal Service Of Sumonses Returnable To Traffic Violations Bureau Or
Criminal Court (P.G. 209-09)
Evictions, Repossessions and Other Civil Process (P.G. 214-13)


P.G. 214-13 Evictions, Repossessions And Other Civil Process

Date Effective: 01-01-00


To protect life and property and preserve the peace when involved in the enforcement of eviction warrants or other civil process.


Uniformed members of the service should be cognizant that incidents to which they respond may be the outgrowth of a civil process. The authority to break and enter pursuant to purely civil process such as repossessions, evictions and civil commitments is given to the city marshal/sheriff. The only assistance which the police must render to a marshal is the general mandate of the New York City Charter to preserve the peace and protect life and property.

PROCEDURE When requested to assist in the execution of an eviction warrant or other civil process:


1. Assign uniformed member of the service to assist at location involved.


2. Respond to location and examine identification of city marshal/sheriff and if eviction is involved, examine warrant.

NOTE: The role of a uniformed member of the service when called to the scene of an eviction or other civil process situation is to preserve the peace and prevent the commission of a crime. The execution of a warrant of eviction is the sole responsibility of the city marshal/sheriff. Where a forced entry is authorized, a city marshal/sheriff is required to do so in the least disruptive way. Uniformed members of the service will not assist in breaking a door or damaging other property to effect a warrant of eviction. The city marshal is responsible for this action, when necessary and authorized.



3. Notify desk officer and request response of a patrol supervisor, before any further action is taken.


4. Respond to scene and assess situation.

NOTE: If subject of eviction warrant or other civil process appears to be emotionally disturbed comply with P.G. 216-05, "Mentally Ill or Emotionally Disturbed Persons."



5. Enter premises with city marshal/sheriff and landlord/representative and remain until eviction or civil process is executed.

6. Make following entry in ACTIVITY LOG (PD112-145):

a. Name and shield number of city marshal/sheriff

b. Time of entry into tenant's premises

c. Location of tenant's premises in building

d. Name of tenant

e. Note if tenant is present or not

f. Whether city marshal/sheriff or landlord/representative will be responsible for the tenant's property.

(1) If the landlord/representative endorses the eviction warrant indicating that he takes responsibility for the property in the premises, the eviction is complete.

(2) If the landlord/representative does not take responsibility for the property in the premises, the city marshal must arrange for removal.

NOTE: The city marshal/sheriff or the landlord/representative is not permitted to place the property from the premises on the sidewalk. A vehicle must be on the scene and property loaded immediately.

g. Name and address of moving company

h. Name of the driver of each moving van

i. Time each moving van left

j. Location of warehouse where property will be stored.

7. Notify desk officer when the eviction is competed.

Mentally Ill or Emotionally Disturbed Persons (P.G. 216-05)
Motor Vehicle Repossessed/Parking Violations Bureau Scofflaw Removal program (P.G. 212-48)
Unlawful Evictions (P.G. 214-12)
Hostage Barricaded Persons (P.G. 212-38)


Lockouts: what tenants should do & know

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:28 pm
by Anna

The Rights of Tenants who have been unlawfully evicted
Administrative Code Section 26-521
Police Patrol Guide 117-11

In 1982, the City Council of New York passed the Unlawful Eviction Law, a local ordinance making it illegal for any person, without a court order, to evict or attempt to evict an occupant who either has a lease or has lawfully occupied the unit for thirty or more consecutive days.


Examples of illegal evictions are:

1. Locking the occupant out of the dwelling unit or changing the locks without giving tenant the keys.

2. Using or threatening to use force to remove an occupant

3. Denying essential services such as heat, electricity or water for the purpose of evicting.

4. Removing the entrance door.

5. Removing the occupant's possessions.


1. Call the police. You may be directed to go to the precinct. If so, an officer will accompany you back to your apartment. (if the owner has removed the locks or door, explain to the police that you cannot leave your apartment unprotected and demand an officer come to the location.) Whether over the phone or in person get the name or badge number of any police personnel you speak with. In many cases the police will see this as a civil case and not within their jurisdiction. Mention the Police Patrol Guide procedure #117- 11 and if they still refuse to assist, demand to speak with a sergeant or whoever is in charge. In some cases you will end up having to make a complaint about the officer(s) with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

2. It can be extremely helpful to present the following types of information to the police when seeking their assistance in an unlawful eviction:

1. A copy of your lease

2. Rent receipts

3. Utility bills

4. Mail addressed to you at the building in question.

5. Statements of non-involved parties such as neighbors.

6. Any written documentation of violations or harassment between you and the owner/landlord. This is not a legal requirement, but it does add credibility to your claim.

7. The address and phone number of the landlord, the super and/or managing agent

(it may make sense if you suspect the landlord may attempt an illegal eviction to keep copies of any of the above at another location so you can prove your claim. In many cases the proof the tenant needs is locked in the apartment where they cannot get access.)

If you get back in:

1. You should contact a local housing group immediately.

2. If you have a court case pending, go to court to file contempt.

3. Contact the City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court Coordinator (usually located in the lobby of your borough housing court).

If you can't get back in:

1. (a) Contact a friend or relative to spend the night with.

(b) Call the Emergency Assistance Unit (EAU) at 1-800- 994-6494 to stay in a temporary emergency shelter, or

(c) Call Victim Services at (718) 577-7777

2. Go to Housing Court to get an Order to Show Cause (OSC) to restore possession.

3. Contact your local housing group or the City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court Coordinator (usually located in the lobby of your borough housing court).

If your utilities are cut off:

1. If your gas and/or electric service has been discontinued, check with Con Ed/Brooklyn Union Gas/Long Island Lighting Company to find out the reason for the discontinuation. Two possible reasons may be nonpayment of bills by the landlord or a request by the landlord/agent that service be turned off. If the landlord has requested a turn-off on your account (which you pay for and is not included in the rent) then ask/demand to speak with the utility company branch manager. Inform him/her that you did not authorize any turn off (assuming you are paid up), that the landlord did this without authorization and that you want service restored immediately. Inform then that you have an ongoing dispute with your landlord and that the utility company cannot get involved one way or another. Let them know you will go to the Public Service Commission if they don't immediately restore service and that their action (or failure to restore service) may possibly have legal repercussions for the utility company. Also call the Public Service Commission at 1-800-342-3377.

2. Check and see if the service is being cut off from inside the premises for the purpose of an unlawful eviction. If this is the case, call the Police. Call the Department of Housing Preservation and Development at 212-824-4328 and register a complaint.

3. In some cases the landlord may try to transfer your utility account (in your name) to his name in anticipation of cutting off service. If this is the case (even if the gas or electricity has not yet been turned off), see #1 above and call the utility Company and demand they restore the account to your name.

4. If the owner has turned off service to public area electricity (such as hallway lighting), call the police, fire department or your utility emergency number (or all three). Such a situation is very dangerous in that tenants may fall down open stairwells. If the public lighting has been turned off (and you did not get a letter from the utility warning you of this), call the utility to get service restored. In some cases tenants may transfer a public area electrical account to their name (or the tenants association name) and pay it off deducting the cost from their rent. In such cases, tenants are advised to seek legal advice as they may then be responsible for the bill.


Keep detailed logs of what happens, who you speak to, where you go. If you incur any expenses (hotel bills, restaurant, clothing, medicine, etc.), then keep all receipts.

Since an unlawful eviction is a Class A Misdemeanor, subject to criminal and civil penalties, the landlord or his representative (managing agent or super) can be subject to the following penalties: a universal summons, arrest, fines (treble damages) or an action in civil and/or criminal court.


PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:14 pm
by TenantNet
The following is the NYC Unlawful Eviction Law, contained in the NYC Administrative Code.

§ 26–521 Unlawful eviction.

a. It shall be unlawful for any person to evict or attempt to evict an occupant of a dwelling unit who has lawfully occupied the dwelling unit for thirty consecutive days or longer or who has entered into a lease with respect to such dwelling unit or has made a request for a lease for such dwelling unit pursuant to the hotel stabilization provisions of the rent stabilization law except to the extent permitted by law pursuant to a warrant of eviction or other order of a court of competent jurisdiction or a governmental vacate order by:

(1) using or threatening the use of force to induce the occupant to vacate the dwelling unit; or

(2) engaging in a course of conduct which interferes with or is intended to interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of such occupant in the use or occupancy of the dwelling unit, to induce the occupant to vacate the dwelling unit including, but not limited to, the interruption or discontinuance of essential services; or

(3) engaging or threatening to engage in any other conduct which prevents or is intended to prevent such occupant from the lawful occupancy of such dwelling unit or to induce the occupant to vacate the dwelling unit including, but not limited to, removing the occupant's possessions from the dwelling unit, removing the door at the entrance to the dwelling unit; removing, plugging or otherwise rendering the lock on such entrance door inoperable; or changing the lock on such entrance door without supplying the occupant with a key.

b. It shall be unlawful for an owner of a dwelling unit to fail to take all reasonable and necessary action to restore to occupancy an occupant of a dwelling unit who either vacates, has been removed from or is otherwise prevented from occupying a dwelling unit as the result of any of the acts or omissions prescribed in subdivision a of this section and to provide to such occupant a dwelling unit within such dwelling suitable for occupancy, after being requested to do so by such occupant or the representative of such occupant, if such owner either committed such unlawful acts or omissions or knew or had reason to know of such unlawful acts or omissions, or if such acts or omissions occurred within seven days prior to such request.

§ 26–522 Definitions.

a. For the purpose of this chapter the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) "Dwelling unit" means a dwelling unit as such term is defined in subdivision thirteen of section 27-2004 of the housing maintenance code.

(2) "Owner" means an owner as defined in section 27-2004 of the housing maintenance code.

b. For the purposes of this chapter a "person" shall not include a government employee acting within the scope of employment.

§ 26–523 Criminal and civil penalties.

a. Any person who intentionally violates or assists in the violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Each such violation shall be a separate and distinct offense.

b. Such person shall also be subject to a civil penalty of not less than one thousand nor more than ten thousand dollars for each violation. Each such violation shall be a separate and distinct offense. In the case of a failure to take all reasonable and necessary action to restore an occupant pursuant to subdivision b of section 26-521 of this chapter, such person shall be subject to an additional civil penalty of not more than one hundred dollars per day from the date on which restoration to occupancy is requested until the date on which restoration occurs, provided, however, that such period shall not exceed six months.

§ 26–524 Enforcement actions or proceedings.

The civil penalties prescribed by this chapter shall be recovered by an action or proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction. All such actions or proceedings shall be brought in the name of the city by the corporation counsel. In addition, the corporation counsel may institute any other action or proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction that may be appropriate or necessary for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, including actions to secure permanent injunctions enjoining any acts or practices which constitute a violation of any provision of this chapter, mandating compliance with the provisions of this chapter or for such other relief as may be appropriate. In any such action or proceeding the city may apply to any court of competent jurisdiction, or to a judge or justice thereof, for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction enjoining and restraining all persons from violating any provision of this chapter, mandating compliance with the provisions of this chapter, or for such other relief as may be appropriate, until the hearing and determination of such action or proceeding and the entry of final judgment or order therein. The court, or judge or justice thereof, to whom such application is made, is hereby authorized forthwith to make any or all of the orders above specified, as may be required in such application, with or without notice, and to make such other or further orders or directions as may be necessary to render the same effectual. No undertaking shall be required as a condition to the granting or issuing of such order, or by reason thereof.

§ 26–525 Lien.

Every civil penalty imposed by judgment upon an owner pursuant to this chapter shall be a lien upon the dwelling with respect to which such civil penalty is imposed from the time of the filing of a notice of pendency in the office of the clerk of the county in which such dwelling is situated.

§ 26–526 Notice of pendency.

a. In any action or proceeding instituted under this chapter, the corporation counsel may file in the county clerk's office of the county where the dwelling affected by such action or proceeding is situated, a notice of the pendency of such action or proceeding. Such notice may be filed at the time of the commencement of the action or proceeding, or at any time afterwards, before final judgment or order. The corporation counsel shall designate in writing the name of each person against whom the notice is filed and the number of each block on the land map of the county which is affected by the notice. The county clerk in whose office the notice of pendency is filed shall record and index such notice against the names and blocks designated.

b. Any such notice may be vacated upon the order of a judge of the court in which such action or proceeding was instituted or is pending, or upon the consent in writing of the corporation counsel. The clerk of the county where such notice is filed shall cancel such notice upon receipt of such consent or of a certified copy of such order.

§ 26–527 Liability for costs.

Neither the city nor any officer or employee thereof shall be liable for costs in any action or proceeding brought pursuant to this chapter.

§ 26–528 Monies recovered.

All monies recovered under this chapter shall be paid into the general fund of the city.

§ 26–529 Remedies and penalties.

The remedies and penalties provided for herein shall be in addition to any other remedies and penalties provided under other provisions of law.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:24 pm
by TenantNet
The following was provided by forum user NyHawk:

Housing Court has 4 types of proceedings: (1) nonpayment of rent, (2) holdover (LL wants to recover possession even if rent is paid up to date), (3) an HP action (T suing LL to force repairs) and (4) a proceeding under RPAPL 735(10) (person who is entitled to possession suing the person who illegally locked them out).

The last one is relatively unknown to the general public.

The Clerk's Office has two forms available for people to use who are illegally locked out:

1. "Order to Show Cause in lieu of Notice of Petition to restore to possession [no existing proceeding]."

2. "Verified Petition in support of an Order to Show Cause to restore to possession [RPAPL section 713, subd. 10]."

Anyone in this situation should go to Housing Court and ask for these two forms. The Clerks are very helpful. They will explain how to fill out the forms, the process of getting a Judge to sign the Order to Show Cause and how to serve it (personal or certified mail).

This situation is treated by the courts as the emergency situation that it is, and usually when a person illegally locked out completes the above two forms, they will leave Housing Court in a couple of hours with an Order signed by a Judge scheduling an emergency hearing and possibly prohibiting the respondent (the person who illegally locked you out) from re-renting the apartment, removing any of your stuff and allowing you access to the apartment to get your stuff.

Illegally locking someone out is treated very seriously by Judges and subjects the person who illegally locked you out to having to pay you triple damages, pursuant to RPAPL 853. (It states that on the two forms.)

Here is the Housing Court link on this topic: ... egal.shtml

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:42 am
by TenantNet
While not completely a self-help lockout, this eviction was still illegal, and it appears the landlord and their attorneys might face consequences. See