Since 1982, illegal eviction in New York has been punishable by civil and criminal penalties. Laws criminalizing New York Unlawful Eviction laws are codified in New York City Administrative Code not in the New York Penal Code. Specifically, criminal provisions relating to unlawful eviction of tenants are codified in NYC Administrative Code Sections 26-521 through 26-529. This charge only applies to unlawful evictions in New York City, and not in the entire state of New York.
New York Unlawful Eviction Law Explained:
Under New York City Administrative Code Section 26-521, it is unlawful to evict or attempt to evict an occupant of a residential unit, who has:
- Occupied the premises for 30 consecutive days, OR
- Entered into a leave with respect to such residence, OR
- Made a request for a lease for such residence pursuant to Rent Stabilization Law.
- Using or threatening the use of force to induce the occupant to vacate the dwelling unit, OR
- Engaging in a course of conduct which interferes with or is intended to interfere with or disturb the comfort, of the occupant in the use or occupancy of the dwelling unit, to induce the occupant to vacate the dwelling unit including, OR
- Engaging or threatening to engage in any other conduct which prevents or is intended to prevent such occupant from the lawful occupancy of such dwelling unit or to induce the occupant to vacate the dwelling unit.
- Removing occupant’s possessions from the residence;
- Removing the entrance door to the unit;
- Plugging or otherwise making the lock on the entrance door inoperable;
- Changing the lock on the entrance door without providing the occupant with the key.
- Intentionally shutting off utilities in an effort to force the tenant to vacate the premises.
Additionally, is is also unlawful for an owner of a dwelling unit to:
- Fail to take all necessary and reasonable action to restore occupancy to the occupant of the dwelling unit who vacates, or is otherwise prevented from occupying the unit as a result of conduct described in this section.
Sentencing and Penalties for New York Unlawful Eviction
Under Real Properties Actions and Proceedings Law Section 768, Unlawful Eviction in violation of New York City Administrative Code is subject to both criminal and civil penalties.
Criminal Penalties NY Unlawful Eviction
New York Unlawful Eviction is a Class “A” Misdemeanor. As such, this charge is punishable by:
- Determinate sentence up to 1 year in prison;
- Conditional Discharge (with conditions such as community service or restitution imposed by the Court);
- Unconditional Discharge (no conditions imposed by the Court);
- Time Served (even if it is just a few hours).
Importantly, each separate violation of the New York Unlawful eviction statute constitutes a separate and distinct offense. Thus, an individual can be charged with multiple counts of unlawful eviction each relating to a different incident, even if all counts relate to the same tenant.
Civil Penalties NY Unlawful Eviction
Additionally, New York City Unlawful Eviction can be punishable by civil penalty. The penalty is not less than $1,000 and not more than $10,000 for each violation. Similarly to the criminal charge, each violation is a separate and district offense and can have a separate civil penalty or fine assessed.
An additional civil penalty may be assessed for not taking all reasonable and necessary action to restore the premises to its original condition. The additional penalty is up to $100 per day, from the date the restoration is requested until the date restoration occurs. However, the time period for this additional illegal eviction fine shall not exceed 6 months.
Contact Experienced New York Unlawful Eviction Defense Attorneys Today
If you or your loved one has been arrested or charged with Unlawful Eviction in New York City, you need experienced counsel. If you have been unlawfully evicted, you need to contact a landlord – tenant attorney (not us!).
Please call us at 212-729-9494 or contact us today for your free initial consultation.