Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

New York landlord hires private eye to investigate tenant

Evicting a tenant in New York can be a complicated process for landlords. There are several reasons landlords start eviction proceedings with tenants, including lease violations and not paying rent. Violating the terms of a lease agreement is one of the most common reasons landlords evict tenants, and a recent eviction dispute in New York shows just how far some landlords will go to legally evict a tenant suspected of violating her lease.

The landlord suspected that one of his tenant's was violating the terms of her lease by renting out her apartment to others, a clear violation of the tenant's lease agreement. The suspicion led to a New York City Housing Court judge telling the tenant to only allow immediate family members to stay in the apartment.

Despite the judge's warning to the tenant, the landlord still suspected that the tenant was renting out her apartment. Because the landlord believed that the tenant was still violating the terms of the lease, he hired a private investigator to see if he could get any evidence of the violations to use in an eviction proceeding.   

The landlord said he paid $20,000 to hire a private investigator who also installed surveillance equipment to investigate the tenant. The investigator said he found someone who wasn't a family member renting the apartment. The landlord's sister, who also owns the building, also found evidence that the tenant owns a home in New Jersey, and even found the deed saying it was the tenant's primary residence.

The landlord combined the new evidence with his previous suspicions and believes that the tenant was renting out her apartment for over $200 a night. He claims that the tenant made up to $500,000 during the last four years of renting out her apartment.

The new evidence and landlord's claims against the tenant eventually led to the tenant agreeing to vacate the property. While most landlords would not go to the lengths that this landlord did to obtain evidence of a tenant violating her lease, the evidence led to the tenant being evicted. Due to the extreme lengths the landlord went to, hopefully the next tenant will think twice before violating the lease agreement. 

Source: New York Post, "Landlord wins eviction battle against cheating tenant," Julia Marsh, Sept. 30, 2013

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