How to Evict a Tenant in NYC with No Lease?

By: Abdullah Haroon

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Landlords have plenty of responsibilities on their shoulders, like managing staff, looking for maintenance, coping with resident issues, rental property inspection, etc, but the one which tops the list is evicting a tenant. Being a human, no one wants to snatch a roof over someone’s head but life comes up with unexpected challenges, and you have to bite the bullet sometimes.

Eviction Reasons

You don’t need a reason to evict your month-to-month renter but you need a solid ground depending upon the hostility of the renter.

Here are a Few Reasons you may consider Before Posting an Eviction Notice:

  • Non Payment of Rent
  • Violation of Community Guidelines
  • Illegal Activity
  • Health and Safety Violations
  • Unauthorized Pets

In NYC, where real estate rules are strict, asking your tenant to leave can be confusing and complex, especially when there is no lease in place.

Eviction Reasons

To understand this, let’s get a glimpse of the facts of why landlords and tenants would prefer non-lease contracts in the first place.

Non Contractual Tenancy

Eviction is hard for both parties – renters lose their settled apartment and owners need to find a replacement while keeping legal matters in practice.

The foremost reason why tenants and owners agree to paperless contracts is flexibility and stability. This situation works best for tenants who are trying out the area or change apartments often. With a lease, landlords have to follow all the rules – demand for notice, legal notice, etc. – before they ask for eviction but in the absence of regulations, they run the show.

Non Contractual

No Lease Eviction – How to do it?

With the facts mentioned above, we have identified that it is possible to evict a tenant with no lease.

But how to do it? Let’s rifle through it.

Regardless of the type of rental agreement you have with the tenants, you must comply with the rules and regulations and you can’t throw renters out unless you do the following:

30-day’ Notice:

If you want to evict a month-to-month renter with no lease in place, you must give 30 days notice before you ask for eviction.

Notify the Eviction:

Before you draft a quit notice, make sure you add the tenant’s name, lease type – oral or written, any outstanding payment, and to whom the renter should submit the property.

Inform Tenants About their Rights:

In NYC, tenants can sue the landlord – yes they can and there are many legal rights renters have and you must inform them that they can contest the eviction in court.

Hand Delivers Eviction Notice:

In New York, you need to make ‘3’ good faiths attempt to hand-deliver eviction notice before it can be mailed or slid under the tenant’s door.

Eviction Notice

Other Facts You Must Know

If the Reason for Eviction is Non-Payment:

If the renter pays outstanding rent, he/she has a right to stop the eviction process.

Discriminatory Reasons:

According to NYC laws, you can’t evict a tenant – whether with a lease or without – for discriminatory reasons. For example, if the renter belongs to a protected class, he/she may sue you in court arguing that you have evicted him/her because of prejudiced reasons.

A Few Helpful Terms


In connection with eviction, you need to understand the term ‘tenant-at-will’. It simply means a tenant living in a rental property without a lease. Meaning to say if you are evicting a tenant with no lease, you are evicting a tenant-at-will.

The rights of these renters are sometimes misunderstood but one thing you must comply with is the beforehand eviction notice. Throwing tenants forcibly out is like self-mortification and in the state of New York, a renter cannot be legally driven out without first having been given a 7-day, or 30-day, notice to quit.


A squatter is someone whom you rented your property but he/she is still living in the rental after the rental contract ended. Another word used for squatters is ‘unlawful tenants’ – because they are the ones who are living in your apartment without permission.

You may follow the same procedure for evicting squatters as you do for tenants and it may be tempted to force such people off your apartment but that too would have legal consequences.

Unlawful Tenant

Therefore, start with a notice saying that you are filing a suit for eviction and proceed if they don’t spare the property.

Related Article: What’s Inside New York’s Squatters’ Rights?

Cash for Keys – A Quick Fix

Many landlords don’t want to face the eviction process and even lose money to keep themselves away from the court. Rather than losing your precious coins, you may adopt the ‘cash for keys’ approach.

As the name implies, it means offering a flat payment to the tenants in return for your apartment’s keys. Renters who do not want to leave the property are often enticed by this option.

Ending Note

Home eviction in NYC weighs a lot of time and energy if not catered properly. Landlords need to pull out all the stops for complying with the NYC eviction rules otherwise they can see themselves standing in court.

Before you draft the quit notice, we recommend you contact an attorney who has experience in New York real estate. Just to be safe, having comprehensive legal representation is an ideal approach in case you are sued by the tenant.