Sales Market

The most common reasons a landlord will sue you

By Virginia K. Smith  | January 6, 2015 - 12:22PM

No one wants to wind up in court with their landlord, and on this front, we have some good news: the number of Housing Court cases has fallen by 24 percent over the past six years, according to data gathered by the Real Deal, meaning that fewer building owners have been suing their tenants. However, rates of eviction have risen, meaning that if you do get taken to court, you're more likely to get booted from your apartment. (And even if you don't get evicted, a Housing Court case can land you a spot on the tenant blacklist.)

As it turns out, a few NYC landlords have a disproportionate number of cases against tenants, TRD reports, and the vast majority of them are for that classic dispute: failing to pay rent. The other big source of conflict: "holdover" cases to oust tenants that are "non-primary" or "improperly" living in an apartment. In practice, holdover cases are most frequently used to give the heave-ho to tenants who are allegedly not entitled to their rent-regulated status, and to subsequently move in higher-paying renters. However, holdover cases have actually fallen since their high during the last housing boom between 2005 and 2007.

In other words, your landlord isn't too likely to sue you willy-nilly. However, if you're worried your building's management or a potential new landlord is a little on the litigious side, TRD has a list of the landlords with the most active lawsuits, and you can always look up your building's owner on ACRIS, then search Housing Court records to see if they've made frequent appearances (we've got instructions on the search process here). After all, your landlord isn't the only one who's entitled to a little background information.


Is your landlord lawsuit-happy? Find out

The dreaded tenant blacklist: what you need to know

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Ask Sam: How do I find out if my apartment should be rent-stabilized—and if the landlord owes me money? (sponsored)

The landlord watchlist is out: is yours one of the city's worst?

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