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How long does a holdover proceeding take? (NYC)

Posted by Steven on May 20, 1999 at 17:12:49:

First, thanks to Anna for her guidance in answering my earlier questions. I tried to email her "thank you," but the email was returned. Hopefully she's reading this here: Thank you.

Now, my question: I live in Brooklyn, in a brownstone (4 units; our apt is not rent-stabilized or rent-controlled, although our downstairs neighbor is RC). We have been living with an unwritten month-to-month lease for about a year, though previously we had a written lease starting in January 1991.

The building has been sold and is in contract to a man who is going to turn the building into his house -- although he still has the RC neighbor to deal with -- to whom the new owner has offered cash to move).

This afternoon, my wife was personally served with a notice to vacate (from the present owner) by June 30. I guess this is the "30-day notice."

Now, for the past two weeks we've been out looking at apartments and we've registered at a dozen real estate agencies in various neighborhoods around us, and so far we have seen nothing we can afford or that is suitable for our family (we have two young children -- a toddler and a baby).

Needless to say, having this set deadline of June 30 is now a lot of pressure. If we find a place before then, it's no problem. But if we don't -- and it's a very tight, and expensive, market -- we assume the next step is that as of July 1 the landlord will initiate a holdover proceeding. Correct?

Can anybody give me some information about a holdover?

1. If the LL goes to court July 1 to start this proceeding, how long does it USUALLY take before we would have to appear in court to answer the petition?

2. When we appear to answer the petition -- is a decision made right there and then, or is a trial date set up for a future date?

3. If a trial date is set, how long after the appearance to answer the petition does it USUALLY take until the trial date? (In other words, are the housing courts generally blocked up, or are cases handled rather quickly?)

4. Assuming we know nothing "bad" about the landlord with which to counter (and we really don't want to play that game anyway), what "defense" do we really have, since this is not a personal thing against us, just that the building is being purchased and the new owner wants to occupy?

5. What I'm asking, basically, is how long does a person USUALLY have (I keep saying "usually" because I know how variable that can be) from the time the holdover is started to the time the trial usually starts? (I figure it's then up to the discretion of the judge how long he/she may give us to keep looking for an apartment, if we haven't found one by then, but I'd like to know how long we might have even if the judge orders a quick vacate date.)

Thank you very much for any and all help offered!

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