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Public Housing and Exclusion Violations

New York City Tenant Rights: Eviction & Termination of Tenancy

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is a public housing authority that operates low-income housing throughout the five boroughs of New York City. With NYCHA leases, the most common reason for eviction is the failure to pay rent; however, a tenancy may be terminated for other reasons, particularly when a resident or a resident's family member engages in prohibited conduct or when they allow an excluded family member with a serious felony conviction to visit or reside on the premises.

Can convicted felons be added on a NYCHA lease?

When someone is approved to live in a NYCHA apartment, they must disclose and exclude family members with prior criminal convictions, particularly those convictions that are one of the 21 penal offenses that are on the NYCHA's serious felony list. The NYCHA performs regular sweeps in its developments and if an excluded person is found in a tenant's apartment, then the tenant faces the possibility of eviction.

Termination of Tenancy Proceeding

The NYCHA has every desire to keep the residents of its affordable housing developments safe; therefore, if someone has a conviction for a serious felony, then he or she will usually be denied residency. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Assault (1st or 2nd degree)
  • Stalking (1st degree)
  • Strangulation (1st or 2nd degree)
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Rape (1st degree)
  • Kidnapping
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated sexual abuse (2nd degree)
  • Aggravated criminal contempt

If a tenant allows such an "excluded" person to live in the apartment, then such act would be grounds for termination of residency. If the NYCHA wishes to terminate a tenant, they must commence a termination of tenancy proceeding.

A tenant can face eviction for having an unauthorized person (someone with a conviction for one of the 21 penal offenses listed) in their apartment. Prior to the termination, the tenant must receive notice of their violations and an opportunity to correct the problem. However, with chronic breaches of the rules and regulations, there is no opportunity to cure.

The eviction process may be applied to any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety and right to a peaceful environment of the project, as well as any other form of violent or drug related criminal activity that occurs on or off NYCHA grounds, any criminal activity that results in a felony conviction, and non-desirability.

A Tenant's Administrative Hearing

Before the eviction, the case will be sent to NYCHA's Law Department, which will then schedule an administrative hearing before an impartial hearing officer. The impartial hearing officer acts as a judge; they will carefully weigh all the relevant facts and decide on the merits of the case. If the impartial hearing officer does not agree with the resident, then their findings and recommendations will be forwarded to the NYCHA Board. At the hearing, the tenant may present character evidence that demonstrates that his or her tenancy was formerly unblemished, and they may state this fact to mitigate their circumstances before the end of the hearing.

The NYCHA Board is made up of a chairman and two other members, these individuals have the power to modify the recommendation of the impartial hearing officer. If the impartial hearing officer recommends that the tenancy be terminated and the Board agrees, then the case will be referred to landlord/tenant court. The court will issue a warrant and from there the city marshal will serve the resident with a 72-hour Notice to Evict. However, if criminal activity involving illegal drugs or business was conducted in or near the apartment, then the eviction process can be expedited by going directly to landlord/tenant court under the Bawdy House Law.

Contact a Landlord Tenant Lawyer in NYC

According to New York City landlord tenant law, the NYCHA may try to evict you because you allowed an unauthorized or excluded person to reside in your apartment or because a friend or family member engaged in criminal activity. However, this does not mean that you were aware of what was happening or that you did anything wrong. If you are facing a termination of tenancy at any of the NYCHA developments, then you have a right to a hearing.

We urge you to contact a landlord tenant attorney in NYC from The Law Office of Tamara I. Jordan P.L.L.C. for help. We understand where you are coming from and we know how important it is that you keep your home. We will not only help you prepare for the hearing but we will defend your rights before the impartial hearing officer and the NYCHA Board; we will fight to keep you from being evicted!

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The Law Office of Tamara I. Jordan P.L.L.C. - Landlord Tenant Attorney NYC
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