Nonpayment of Rent

A nonpayment of rent case is brought by a landlord to collect unpaid rent. A landlord must first serve a "rent demand" on the tenant at least 3 days prior to when court papers are served (unless the lease requires more days).

After the 3 days have passed, if the tenant has still not paid the rent, the landlord can serve on the tenant, and file in court, a nonpayment petition and notice of petition. The court clerk will then mail a postcard to the tenant with an instruction to promptly go to court to file an answer. The tenant is usually required to file an answer within 5 days of receiving the nonpayment petition.

The answer provides reasons--also called defenses--why the tenant failed to pay rent. At the time of filing, the court will provide a date, time, and courtroom for the parties to appear in court. Usually this will be about one week later.

Note: if more than 5 days have passed and the tenant has still not filed an answer, there may still be a right to do so. A tenant should never give up on defending a case just because a deadline has passed.

If you are a New York City tenant and your landlord has brought an eviction case against you, please contact New York City Tenant Lawyer Eric Dinnocenzo at (212) 933-1675 for a free consultation