Who can bring an eviction case in NYC?

Person Signing

If the landlord is also the owner of a house, there isn’t much of a question as to who may bring an eviction case. Sometimes, however, the facts are more confusing than this. The question, then, is who can bring an eviction case in NYC?

(For purposes of this discussion, we will assume that a tenant moved in on consent, and not a squatter or some other unauthorized relationship.) Most tenants will come into possession of an apartment either under lease, or the owner of property (or their representative) authorized you to take possession without a lease.

What is the law concerning who can bring an eviction case in NYC?

When an eviction proceeding is brought, someone has to sign the papers and serve as the petitioner. Section 721 of the NYS Real Property and Proceedings law identifies who may bring an eviction proceeding. The law states:

The proceeding may be brought by:
1. The landlord or lessor.
2. The reversioner or remainderman next entitled to possession of the property upon the termination of the estate of a life tenant, where a tenant of such life tenant holds over.
3. The purchaser upon the execution or foreclosure sale, or the purchaser on a tax sale to whom a deed has been executed and delivered or any subsequent grantee, distributee or devisee claiming title through such purchaser.
4. The person forcibly put out or kept out.
5. The person with whom, as owner, the agreement was made, or the owner of the property occupied under an agreement to cultivate the property upon shares or for a share of the crops.
6. The person lawfully entitled to the possession of property intruded into or squatted upon.
7. The person entitled to possession of the property occupied by a licensee who may be dispossessed.
8. The person, corporation or law enforcement agency authorized by this article to proceed to remove persons using or occupying premises for illegal purposes.
9. The receiver of a landlord, purchaser or other person so entitled to apply, when authorized by the court.
10. The lessee of the premises, entitled to possession.
11. Not-for-profit corporations, and tenant associations authorized in writing by the commissioner of the department of the city of New York charged with enforcement of the housing maintenance code of such city to manage residential real property owned by such city.

As is evidenced by this list, which identifies the parties that have standing to bring an eviction case, there are quite a few different parties that can bring an eviction case. On the flip side, however, is that this list is complete. That is, if a petitioner’s status is not on this list, then they likely do not have standing to bring an eviction case.

The simplest instance is when the owner of property brings the case, or the lessor of property brings the case, as is described in RPAPL Section 721(1). Ownership of the property is NOT an element of an eviction case. That is, let’s say a property is owned just by the wife. If a tenant moves in under a lease that is signed by the husband, and the tenant was made aware that the husband can act on the owner-wife’s behalf, the husband will be recognized as a lessor, and has standing to bring an eviction case.

What if the party with standing is not available to bring an eviction in NYC?

Sometimes, as is the case, the owner of the property will leave the country and reside elsewhere. In that instance, assuming the deed was never transferred or no lease signed, the owner of property can bring an eviction proceeding through the use of someone acting under a power of attorney. The tenants will have to be made aware of this power of attorney, usually by attaching a copy to the papers that are served.

Just know, however, that if someone is bringing an eviction case under authority given by a power of attorney, and the tenants is not provided notice of the power of attorney, the case may be dismissed as procedurally defective.


To successfully bring an eviction case, the petitioner must make sure that they comport with strict procedural requirements. Failure to satisfy these procedural requirements may result in dismissal of the case, wasting time and money.

One of the strict requirements of an eviction case is that the party bringing the case has standing. While the petitioner doesn’t have to be the owner of the property, they must be one of the enumerated parties provided in the law. Also, keep in mind that if a party is unavailable to bring an eviction case, they may use a power of attorney to do so, although that comes with it’s own requirements, as well.

If you would like to discuss bringing an eviction case, contact the Law Office of Richard Kistnen, tel.: (718) 738-2324, email [email protected]

128-22 Rockaway Boulevard
South Ozone Park, NY 11420
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