How to Evict an Adult Child in New York

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Sometimes, when an adult child lives with their parents, it doesn't work out for a variety of reasons. Despite family ties, the owner of the property cannot kick their family member out immediately – they must evict the adult child through the courts.

Under New York state law, a family member can be evicted like any other tenant if they pay rent to their parent. If they don’t pay rent, however, they must be given six months' notice and an ejection action, which is more complex than a standard eviction.

Eviction Notices for Terminating Tenancy With Cause

A landlord who wishes to terminate an adult child’s tenancy before their rental term expires will need cause to do so. They can be evicted for a variety of reasons, including nonpayment of rent or being in violation of the lease agreement.

To evict an adult child that pays rent, the family member must first give them written notice. The types of notice they’ll receive is determined by the reason for their eviction:

  • Fourteen-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit:​ If the adult child does not pay the rent they owe the landlord by its due date, they may get a notice informing them that they have 14 days to make the rent payment in full or to vacate the property. If they don’t do either, the landlord can then file an eviction lawsuit.
  • Notice to Cure/Notice of Termination:​ If the adult child is in violation of the lease, the landlord must give them two notices. First, they'll receive a notice to cure, informing them that they have 10 days to fix the violation. If they do, they cannot be evicted; if they don’t, they will receive a notice of termination, informing them that their tenancy is terminated and they have 30 days to move out. If they don’t move out in that time period, the landlord can start eviction proceedings.

Terminating a Tenancy Without Cause

New York landlords cannot end the tenancy of an adult child who pays rent without cause – they must wait until the rental period ends to give them proper notice to end the tenancy. If the adult child has been renting under a month-to-month agreement for at least a year, they will receive 30 days' notice.

Those who have a lease between one to two years will get 60 days' notice, and those with more than two years of a month-to-month lease will get 90 days' notice.

Terminating a Tenancy with a Written Lease

If an adult child has a fixed lease for six months or a year, the landlord must allow the tenant to live out the term of their lease in their unit before expecting or asking them to move.

When the lease ends, the landlord does not need to give the adult child notice unless the rental agreement terms state otherwise. The landlord can simply expect them to move at that time, unless the renter has indicated they would like to renew the contract.

New York State’s Eviction Process

When beginning proceedings against an adult child renter, the landlord must file a petition with the housing court in the county of the location of the property. The court will assign a court date and time and give the tenant notice.

If they wish to challenge the eviction, they must show up at the court hearing. A judge will listen to both parties and make a decision for either the landlord or the adult child. If the adult child loses, they may be responsible for the landlord’s attorney and court fees for the eviction case.

Other Impacts of Eviction

The eviction may also hurt the adult child in other ways. For example, they can end up with a bad credit rating and have difficulty finding housing. They may find that it would be better to negotiate with the family member/landlord before they end up in court. Communities all over New York state have mediation services for landlord-tenant disputes that are often free or low-cost.

Evicting an Adult Child Who Doesn’t Pay Rent

When evicting an adult child who doesn’t pay rent, landlords cannot d0 s0 in the same way they can evict a normal, paying tenant. Family members living at a property for free with the owner's consent must be evicted through an “ejectment action” in the Supreme Court of the county where the property is located.

This is a complex and lengthy procedure, and the landlord should hire an attorney when bringing this action.

The landlord must give the adult child a full six months' written notice to quit, after which they serve that person with a summons and a complaint. The adult child then has from 20 to 30 days to file an answer, and from there, the court sets a trial date.

Removing the Adult Child From the Property

A landlord cannot force an adult child out of a unit by doing such acts as changing the locks or shutting off utilities. An eviction can happen only after the landlord successfully wins the lawsuit in court, and the only party who can physically evict them is a sheriff.

After the adult child moves out, they may leave some of their personal items behind. New York eviction laws do not specify what a landlord should do with a tenant’s property, but municipalities may have their own rules.

The landlord should contact the adult child regarding their property and give them a reasonable amount of time to pick it up. If they do not claim it within that time, the landlord can sell or otherwise dispose of it.