Housing Unit

Housing Unit

More than half of the individuals who seek our services, from all of the seven counties we serve, are in danger of becoming homeless. Many of them have gotten behind on their rent or mortgage payments due to unforeseen circumstances like a medical emergency or loss of a job.

If you are in danger of being evicted, or your house is in foreclosure, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley can help you. We will work to ensure that all of your rights are upheld, and that you understand your responsibilities.

We can advocate for you with your landlord, public housing program, an administrative law agency such as the Veterans Administration or the Department of Social Services, your bank or creditor. In some cases, this can prevent the need to go to court and result in a settlement that allows you to stay in your home.

We can help families to retain protected subsidized or public housing vouchers.

And, finally, we can help you fight tenant harassment or housing discrimination.

Eviction Prevention

Your landlord can not evict you from your apartment without giving you proper written notice and going through the legal process.

Prior to initiating a court proceeding, we can help you to negotiate with your landlord, e.g., on a feasible and mutually agreeable payment plan, and in that way possibly enable you to remain in your home.  

If negotiation is not possible, or if our efforts to gain a voluntary agreement from your landlord allowing you to remain in your apartment fail, you may be evicted for various reasons. However, before the eviction can occur, your landlord must first terminate your tenancy. This happens when your landlord gives you written notice, as required by state or city law. If you do not comply with the notice, the landlord can then file an eviction lawsuit with the court.

New York laws require your landlord to end your tenancy in very specific ways. Different types of notices and procedures are needed for different situations, which are outlined below.

If your landlord wants to terminate your tenancy early, or have you move out before your rental term has expired, he or she will need to show cause. You can be evicted early for not paying your rent, or for violating the lease or rental agreement. To start the eviction process, the landlord must give you a written notice which is specific to your case. There are three types of notices.

This notice will inform you that you have fourteen days to pay your rent in full or move out of your apartment. If you do not pay or move, your landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court after the fourteen days have ended.

If your landlord wants to evict you because you have violated your lease, you will receive these two written notices:

This is the first paper that your landlord will send to you. It will inform you that you have ten days to correct the lease violation. If you fix the problem(s), your landlord cannot take any further action against you. If you do not correct the violation, your landlord can give you a notice that you must move out of your apartment.

If your landlord wants to evict you because you have violated your lease, you will received two written notices.

If your landlord has previously given you a Notice to Cure, and you have not complied with it, you can be evicted from your apartment. The Notice of Termination will inform you that your tenancy has been ended because you failed to correct the lease violation, and that you have thirty days to move out. If you do not move out, your landlord can start an eviction proceeding against you through the court system.

Your landlord cannot end your tenancy early without cause. If the landlord does not have cause for an eviction case, he or she must wait until the end of the lease or rental period before asking or expecting you to move. The landlord may still need to give you notice, though.

If you have a month-to-month lease or rent agreement and your landlord wants you to move but does not have cause, then he or she must give you notice as follows:

Tenants occupying for a year or having a lease of at least one year:30 days’ notice.
Tenants occupying from one to two years and lease holders of one to two year leases:60 days’ notice.
Tenants occupying more than two years or having leases of two years or more:90 days’ notice.

If you have a lease that is for a fixed term, such as six months or one year, and your landlord does not have cause to terminate your tenancy early, then he or she must wait until the end of the term before expecting you to move. Once the term ends, the landlord does not need to give you notice to move, unless the terms of the lease require him or her to do so; the landlord can expect you to move out of the rental unit at the end of the term unless you have indicated otherwise, e.g., by asking for a lease renewal.

In many cases, if we represent you in Housing Court, you will either be allowed to stay in your apartment or be given an extended deadline by which you need to leave it, giving you time to seek alternative housing.

Landlord/Tenant issues

We can assist you with issues, such as:

Foreclosure

If you are a homeowner in danger of losing your house to foreclosure, we can represent you in negotiations with your bank or creditor and the court, and in court mandated settlement conferences. Our expertise includes successfully challenging predatory lending, abusive mortgage servicing, and discrimination/fair housing and lending violations.

In those cases where it is not possible to keep you in your current home, we may be able to help you by getting an extension on an eviction date, giving you time to find another place to live. During your eviction or foreclosure process, we can advise you on budgeting, to help you save for a security deposit and first months’ rent on a new home.

LSHV’s Foreclosure Prevention Project helps Hudson Valley residents retain the homes in which they reside by providing advice, pro se assistance, and representation in actions concerning mortgage foreclosure, tax foreclosure, and homeowner’s and condominium association foreclosure. Where appropriate, LSHV also commences affirmative litigation and assists with related legal matters, such as bankruptcy, probate, and administration. LSHV will also provide advice on the available loss mitigation options.

Public Housing

We can help you to file an application for, or appeal an illegal denial or threatened loss of, your Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, which provide cash assistance enabling you to rent or purchase decent, safe housing in the private housing market, in a neighborhood of your own selection. The program individuals with the lowest household incomes, senior citizens and disabled persons on fixed incomes, displaced families, and homeless individuals with disabilities.

Tenants have legal rights and are entitled to a safe and habitable home that is structurally sound, has a functioning heating system, sanitation, hot water, and cooking facilities, and is free of pests and poisons such as bed bugs, rodents, or lead paint. We can help you to obtain needed repairs to make your home healthy and safe.
Our Housing Counselors can help you to maintain, or locate and obtain, safe and appropriate housing that is within your financial needs, and also provide referrals to community-based services such as counseling or training that you may need in order to remain safely and stably housed. In some cases, we can provide emergency cash assistance to cover rental arrears and/or security deposit and moving costs.

Collaborating with local HUD-approved housing counseling agencies has been key to LSHV’s success in ensuring our clients receive high quality legal and housing counseling services, both of which are often required to obtain a successful outcome.