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Self-Help Evictions: What to Do if You Are a Victim

Posted by Melvin Monachan | Sep 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

Most residents in New York state--and especially in New York City--lease or rent property due to the astronomical costs of purchasing a residence and the high demand for a place to live. Unfortunately, this can mean dealing with a difficult landlord. If you are dealing with the wrath of a rogue landlord or someone who doesn't like to operate under state and local laws and regulations, your living situation can quickly turn into a nightmare. In extreme circumstances, you may find yourself ousted from your property.

If you are in this situation are unsure of what to do next, contact the Law Offices of Melvin Monachan, PLLC for help.

Self-Help Evictions

In New York State, a landlord may not evict a tenant without going through the proper legal process. Failure to follow the proper steps to evict a tenant is called "self-help" eviction and is a crime in New York. Self-help evictions give the tenant legal recourse against the landlord. Examples of situations which are considered wrongful evictions include:

  • Changing the locks to the property: under no circumstances is a landlord allowed to evict you simply by changing the locks to your unit. If you come home to find that your locks have been changed, you may be able to bring legal action against the landlord.
  • Turning off utilities to the unit: if your landlord attempted to evict you by terminating water or electricity to your unit, the landlord has engaged in a self-help eviction.
  • Removing your belongings from the unit: if your landlord enters the unit while you are away and removes your furniture and other belongings from the unit, he or she has engaged in illegal self-help eviction.
  • Threats or harassment that cause you to leave: if your landlord is engaging in practices that cause you to feel unsafe and result in you having no other choice but to abandon the property, you may have a cause of action against the landlord.

If you have been the victim of a self-help eviction, you may be able to bring an action against your landlord in Housing Court for the landlord's wrongful eviction. A successful lawsuit can result in one of two possible remedies.

Firstly, the landlord may be ordered to reinstate your lease and allow you to resume living in the property. Secondly, whether you resume living in the property or not, the court may order an award of up to three times the costs you incurred as a result of the improper self-help eviction. Such costs include the price of a hotel or other form of housing that you were required to rent as a result of the self-help eviction, as well as the difference in rent if you were forced to sign a more expensive lease.

Wrongfully Evicted from Your Rental Unit? We're Here to Help.

If your living situation has been disrupted due to an unruly landlord who has engaged in self-help eviction, you don't have to stand by and do nothing. Melvin Monachan is ready to fight on your behalf to receive the justice you deserve for the eviction you should never have been subjected to. To schedule an appointment to speak with Melvin Monachan about your eviction, fill out an online contact form or call (347) 620-0565 today.

About the Author

Melvin Monachan

Melvin Monachan is the founder of The Law Office of Melvin Monachan, PLLC, a full service, real estate law firm representing individuals, investors and corporate entities in all aspects of real estate law. On the transactional side, Melvin represents purchasers and...

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