Families and individuals with rent arrears who may be at risk of eviction can apply for the NYC Department of Human Resources Administration's (HRA) One-Shot Deal emergency assistance program. Contact HRA’s Infoline at 718-557-1399 for more information. If you receive Cash Assistance/Public Assistance, you may be eligible for help paying your back rent. You should go to your HRA Job Center and speak to someone in the Homelessness Diversion Unit to discuss your situation.
Households on the brink of homelessness can access an extensive network of neighborhood- based services through Homebase, to help you develop a personalized plan to overcome an immediate housing crisis and achieve housing stability.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a household crisis, call 311 to locate your nearest Homebase office.
The only legal way to evict a nonpaying tenant is through a nonpayment eviction proceeding in Housing Court. Building owners must notify the tenant that rent is late, what the balance is, and that, if not paid, the tenant will be evicted. Three days after notice is given or oral demand for the rent is made, the owner may file a nonpayment proceeding in Housing Court and serve papers on the tenant. The tenant must answer the petition in person at the Housing Court Clerk’s office. The Clerk will then provide a court date to the tenant. On the court date, the tenant has an opportunity to present his or her defense to a Housing Court Judge. It is advisable for a tenant to consult an attorney whenever eviction proceedings are concerned. Owners must obtain a judgment of possession and “warrant” directing a city marshal to evict the tenant. Tenants may have a defense to a claim for rent in a building which has been illegally altered and/or for which there is no current Certificate of Occupancy indicating that the rented space can be legally occupied.
An owner may commence a summary proceeding for possession of an apartment for a breach of the lease. If a tenant’s lease contains a provision allowing for termination for committing a “nuisance,” an owner may undertake eviction proceedings for objectionable conduct. A “nuisance” is generally considered persistent and egregious conduct that threatens the health, safety or comfort of neighboring tenants. To evict, owners must provide evidence proving that the tenant’s behavior meets this standard. The landlord must serve a preliminary notice which terminates the lease prior to commencement of the proceeding. The owner may also commence holdover proceedings for other reasons such as illegal sublet, non-primary residence, illegal use, or expiration of lease where no renewal is mandated by law.
There are free legal services for certain low-income persons who have been served with Housing Court documents and are in need of assistance to prevent eviction. For more information call 212-577-3300 or 311.
Seniors who have received a Notice of Eviction or a written notice from their landlord can get eviction prevention assistance and legal referrals. The City also provides eviction assistance for persons over the age of 60 who are mentally or physically impaired. For help, call 311.
The Housing Court Answers (HCA) also has a hotline at 212-962-4795 if you need help paying back rent. Call if you have a case in Housing Court and a good reason for falling behind in your rent such as a death in the family, serious illness, loss of job, or reduction in hours at work, if your income is now high enough that you can pay your future rent, and the amount of arrears is “manageable.” HCA does not provide direct financial help, but refers callers to charities and provides information about NYC Human Resources Administrations rules for assistance. Staff and volunteers at information tables at all Housing Courts answer questions about court procedures and forms. They can also provide referrals to legal services providers and other eviction prevention organizations, resources, and agencies. Most staff members speak English and Spanish.