Not having a lease or an expired lease is not good cause
Landlords are not allowed to evict or attempt to evict a tenant, even if that tenant’s lease has expired or if a squatter doesn’t have a lease to begin with, unless a court has decided that there is a good cause for eviction, as defined in the following sections. The text of the bill is as follows, in all capital letters:
§ 214. GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL OF TENANTS. 1. NO LANDLORD SHALL REMOVE A TENANT FROM ANY HOUSING ACCOMMODATION, OR ATTEMPT SUCH REMOVAL OR EXCLUSION FROM POSSESSION, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE TENANT HAS NO WRITTEN LEASE OR THAT THE LEASE OR OTHER RENTAL AGREEMENT HAS EXPIRED OR OTHERWISE TERMINATED, EXCEPT UPON ORDER OF A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION ENTERED IN AN APPROPRIATE JUDICIAL ACTION OR PROCEEDING IN WHICH THE PETITIONER OR PLAINTIFF HAS ESTABLISHED ONE OF THE FOLLOWING GROUNDS AS GOOD CAUSE FOR REMOVAL OR EVICTION:
Landlords can’t raise rent more than three percent
The tenant failing to pay rent is ostensibly a good cause for eviction, which must be determined by court, unless the reason the tenant didn’t pay rent was because the landlord increased the rent more than three percent or 1.5 times the rate of inflation, whichever is greater.
(A) THE TENANT HAS FAILED TO PAY RENT DUE AND OWING, PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT THE RENT DUE AND OWING, OR ANY PART THEREOF, DID NOT RESULT FROM A RENT INCREASE WHICH IS UNREASONABLE OR IMPOSED FOR THE PURPOSE OF CIRCUMVENTING THE INTENT OF THIS ARTICLE. IN DETERMINING WHETHER ALL OR PART OF THE RENT DUE AND OWING IS THE RESULT OF AN UNREASONABLE RENT INCREASE, IT SHALL BE A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION THAT THE RENT FOR A DWELLING NOT PROTECTED BY RENT REGULATION IS UNREASONABLE IF SAID RENT HAS BEEN INCREASED IN ANY CALENDAR YEAR BY A PERCENTAGE EXCEEDING EITHER THREE PERCENT OR ONE AND ONE-HALF TIMES THE ANNUAL PERCENTAGE CHANGE IN THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX FOR THE REGION IN WHICH THE HOUSING ACCOMMODATION IS LOCATED, AS ESTABLISHED THE AUGUST PRECEDING THE CALENDAR YEAR IN QUESTION, WHICHEVER IS GREATER;
The tenant is violating a substantial obligation under the lease
A good cause for eviction is if the tenant is violating a substantial obligation under the lease, again as determined by a tenant friendly New York court. Of course, the obligation to vacate the property after lease expiration or default isn’t considered a good cause for eviction.
(B) THE TENANT IS VIOLATING A SUBSTANTIAL OBLIGATION OF HIS OR HER TENANCY, OTHER THAN THE OBLIGATION TO SURRENDER POSSESSION, AND HAS FAILED TO CURE SUCH VIOLATION AFTER WRITTEN NOTICE THAT THE VIOLATION CEASE WITHIN TEN DAYS OF RECEIPT OF SUCH WRITTEN NOTICE, PROVIDED HOWEVER, THAT THE OBLIGATION OF TENANCY FOR WHICH VIOLATION IS CLAIMED WAS NOT IMPOSED FOR THE PURPOSE OF CIRCUMVENTING THE INTENT OF THIS ARTICLE;
The tenant is damaging the property or being a nuisance
If the tenant is maliciously or due to negligence damaging the property, then a court may determine that this is an allowed good cause for eviction.
(C) THE TENANT IS COMMITTING OR PERMITTING A NUISANCE IN SUCH HOUSING ACCOMMODATION, OR IS MALICIOUSLY OR BY REASON OF NEGLIGENCE DAMAGING THE HOUSING ACCOMMODATION; OR THE TENANT’S CONDUCT IS SUCH AS TO INTERFERE WITH THE COMFORT OF THE LANDLORD OR OTHER TENANTS OR OCCUPANTS OF THE SAME OR ADJACENT BUILDINGS OR STRUCTURES;
The tenant must vacate due to dangerous, inhabitable conditions
The tenant may be required to vacate the property if the court determines that a housing code violation requires the vacancy of the apartment, and that the landlord did not cause the violation either through neglect or failure to act. The tenant is able to cure the violation on the landlord’s behalf, and credit any expenses against rent. The tenant is entitled to resume occupancy as soon as the violation has been cured.
(D) OCCUPANCY OF THE HOUSING ACCOMMODATION BY THE TENANT IS IN VIOLATION OF OR CAUSES A VIOLATION OF LAW AND THE LANDLORD IS SUBJECT TO CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PENALTIES THEREFORE; PROVIDED HOWEVER THAT AN AGENCY OF THE STATE OR MUNICIPALITY HAVING JURISDICTION HAS ISSUED AN ORDER REQUIRING THE TENANT TO VACATE THE HOUSING ACCOMMODATION. NO TENANT SHALL BE REMOVED FROM POSSESSION OF A HOUSING ACCOMMODATION ON SUCH GROUND UNLESS THE COURT FINDS THAT THE CURE OF THE VIOLATION OF LAW REQUIRES THE REMOVAL OF THE TENANT AND THAT THE LANDLORD DID NOT THROUGH NEGLECT OR DELIBERATE ACTION OR FAILURE TO ACT CREATE THE CONDITION NECESSITATING THE VACATE ORDER. IN INSTANCES WHERE THE LANDLORD DOES NOT UNDERTAKE TO CURE CONDITIONS OF THE HOUSING ACCOMMODATION CAUSING SUCH VIOLATION OF THE LAW, THE TENANT SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO PAY OR SECURE PAYMENT IN A MANNER SATISFACTORY TO THE COURT, TO CURE SUCH VIOLATION PROVIDED THAT ANY TENANT EXPENDITURES SHALL BE APPLIED AGAINST RENT TO WHICH THE LANDLORD IS ENTITLED. IN INSTANCES WHERE REMOVAL OF A TENANT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO HIS OR HER HEALTH AND SAFETY, THE REMOVAL OF THE TENANT SHALL BE WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO ANY LEASEHOLD INTEREST OR OTHER RIGHT OF OCCUPANCY THE TENANT MAY HAVE AND THE TENANT SHALL BE ENTITLED TO RESUME POSSESSION AT SUCH TIME AS THE DANGEROUS CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN REMOVED. NOTHING HEREIN SHALL ABROGATE OR OTHERWISE LIMIT THE RIGHT OF A TENANT TO BRING AN ACTION FOR MONETARY DAMAGES AGAINST THE LANDLORD TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE BY THE LANDLORD WITH ALL APPLICABLE STATE OR MUNICIPAL LAWS OR HOUSING CODES;
The tenant is using the property for an illegal purpose
This is one of the few good causes for eviction that are relatively straightforward, and theoretically without bias. Again, a court will have to determine that the tenant is indeed using the property for an illegal purpose. For example, if you try to evict a tenant for operating an illegal drug trafficking operation from your property, which is a default under the terms of the lease, you have to wait for a court to determine that in fact it was illegal and thus a good cause for eviction.
(E) THE TENANT IS USING OR PERMITTING THE HOUSING ACCOMMODATION TO BE USED FOR AN ILLEGAL PURPOSE;
The tenant cannot unreasonably refuse access for repairs required by law or for showings
A good cause for eviction is if the tenant “unreasonably” refuses access for legally required repairs, or for showings to prospective buyers, lenders, appraisers etc. Note that the bill makes no reference to access for optional repairs that a landlord may wish to do.