When you’re going through financial difficulties, it’s not unusual to fall behind on your bills and rent payments. Once the bills start piling up, being threatened by your landlord is the last thing you need. This only creates more stress during a time when you’re trying to get your finances on track.

Fortunately, there are laws in place to protect people in your situation. In other words, landlords can’t just kick you out because you’re behind on rent. And now with COVID-19, there is even more help for renters who can’t pay their rent or utilities. Know your rights and take action before it’s too late. 

If you’re behind on your rent, contact an eviction attorney in New York right away. Your attorney can let you know of your options and if you can stop the eviction process from happening. In some cases, it makes sense to file for bankruptcy to stop an eviction. 

How Evictions in New York Work: What Renters Should Know 

Your landlord can’t evict you without terminating your tenancy first. This usually involves a written notice and the opportunity to catch up on rent payments. If you are unable to do this, the landlord can then file a lawsuit to evict you. To win their case, the landlord must prove that you did something wrong. 

State laws specify how and when a landlord can terminate a tenancy. In New York, a tenant can be evicted for not paying their rent on time as this violates their lease agreement. The landlord must get a judgement from the court allowing the eviction to occur. The landlord must also give the tenant notice before they can file a lawsuit with the court. 

Landlords must go by the book when evicting a tenant, otherwise the eviction may not be valid. But even if this happens, the eviction process doesn’t just stop. It’s simply delayed. 

Can Filing for Bankruptcy in New York Stop an Eviction? 

If you are unable to catch up on your rent payments, it’s important to speak with an eviction attorney in New York as soon as possible. You’ll have more options this way and you can take your time making the right decisions. 

Bankruptcy is an option for those who can’t pay their bills. When a tenant files for bankruptcy in New York, an automatic stay is created. An automatic stay is a legal provision that stops creditors from going after debtors. This provision also prevents eviction until the bankruptcy court has an opportunity to look at the case. This allows you to stay in your rental longer. 

Do be aware that landlords can request the courts to lift the automatic stay. In some cases, courts are willing to do this because most evictions have no effect on the bankruptcy case. Again, it’s in your best interests to speak with an eviction attorney right away so that you can learn and understand your rights. 

Bottom line: Filing for bankruptcy can stop an eviction in its tracks. Your landlord could get permission from the courts to start the eviction process again, but this generally takes months and will give you time to breathe. 

Tips for When You Can’t Pay Your Rent 

Many tenants have trouble paying their rent on time. If you’re temporarily short on funds, most landlords won’t evict you for paying rent late one month. But if you’re looking at a longer term situation where you’ll be unable to pay your rent, here is some advice to follow:

  • Ask about COVID-19 relief. New York has a moratorium on evictions until May 1st, 2021. Talk to your landlord if you can’t pay your rent due to COVID-19-related hardships. 
  • Be honest and upfront. You’re more likely to avoid an eviction lawsuit by being upfront with your landlord and telling them about your situation. If you’ve been a good tenant, they’re more willing to work with you on a delayed or partial payment. 
  • Ask your landlord, in writing, for extra time to pay your rent.
  • Explain your difficulties and how they’re only temporary. 
  • Offer to pay some of your rent on time.
  • Be prepared to pay a late fee. 
  • Don’t ignore the situation. Or send a check you know will bounce. If your financial situation isn’t temporary, you’ll need to be honest. Put yourself in your landlord’s shoes. Wouldn’t you want to know if your tenants couldn’t pay? 
  • Speak with an eviction attorney. Leases are still business transactions. To protect your rights, speak with an eviction attorney in New York. They can help you determine how to prevent or slow the eviction process by filing for bankruptcy. 

Schedule a Free Bankruptcy Consultation Today 

These are hard times right now, but there are also more protections for renters than ever before. To learn more about renters’ rights in New York, contact the Law Offices of William Waldner for a free consultation. We have helped many people like you avoid eviction or find strategic ways for repayment. We are on your side and we will watch out for your best interests!