Brooklyn, NY asked in Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: In NY, is it legal for landlords to charge over 6 years of rental arrears?

I have been living in my apt for 19 years. Over the years I have accumulated quite a bit of rent arrears. My landlord says that I have to pay it all now or risk eviction. I heard that any rent arrears over 3 or 6 years in NY could be expunged. Is this true?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Peter J. Weinman
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Answered
  • STATEN ISLAND, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: You may be referring to the statute of limitations for contracts, which is 6 years. From my "Staten Island" perspective based on my Staten Island experiences (even though the NYC courts are supposed to be unified, I am not sure how it would be handled in Brooklyn), I do not think any housing judge would find a landlord entitled to more than 3 or 4 years' back rent if the landlord sat on her hands and did nothing that entire time. If you don't get an answer here on this forum from someone who practices in Brooklyn, you might want to consult with someone in person. Start your search here: https://www.justia.com/lawyers

Tim Akpinar and Daniel Michael Luisi agree with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Daniel Michael Luisi
Daniel Michael Luisi
Answered
  • BROOKLYN, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: You may have the defense of “laches” in addition to statute of limitations (which incidentally has been reduced to 3 years for claims commenced after the effective date of the CCFA). Laches is fact specific: in a nutshell, you must prove by a preponderance of evidence that the landlord waited an unreasonably long time to sue on the arrears, and that you had no notice or other indication that they might sue on those arrears. You are best advised to consult an experienced landlord tenant attorney in drafting your answer to the petition, marshaling your evidence, and preparing the strongest possible case for trial. Landlord attorneys are often well seasoned and prepared and frequently beat inexperienced pro se tenants who may have good evidence but don’t know how to properly present their case in court. You may also be given a seemingly short and sweet proposed stipulation that, unbeknownst to you, would cause you to forfeit important rights if signed.

Peter J. Weinman and Tim Akpinar agree with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

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