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Deceptive late rent notice?

Posted by Rob on February 23, 1998 at 14:34:42:

My landlord gets deceptive with late rent notices. Is there anything I
can do?

Namely, the late rent notice comes on a tri-folded sheet of paper. When
folded, one visible panel reads "Notice to Tenant" and the other two parts
of that side of the page have boilerplate legal text relating to proof of
service, as if this were a court document. That boilerplate text is
always left blank.

On the inside, the late rent notice is written in legal jargon -- basically,
a single-sentence paragraph that takes about seven typewritten lines. It's
not easy to understand, but the gist of it is that the tenant has three
days to pay late rent plus all late fees, or a legal eviction proceeding
will be commenced. (The late fee is $1 per day with no cap.) This is
three -days-, not three business days.

Overall, the effect of the document is to make it appear as if it is a
legal notice of some sort, even though (to the best of my determination)
it is not an actual legal notice but, under NY law, a courtesy.

This notice is usually slid under the door of an apartment late at night --
after 9 PM -- by one of the apartment's security staff. If it is
customary for this landlord to provide such a notice, are they obligated
to always provide this notice, or to provide it in a particular manner?
For instance, if the notice has text that implies that it is a service of
process, would it not need to be delivered during a certain time of day,
and with an attempt to contact the named occupant before sliding it under
the door?

Also, if the landlord customarily mails a late rent notice before posting
this questionable notice, are they obligated to always do so?

Under NY law, does the landlord have any duty to mitigate by attempting
to contact the tenant for collection of unpaid rent before commencing
eviction proceedings?


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