What is Housing Eviction?

Eviction is the legal process to remove a tenant from a residential unit. There are several steps which must be followed in order for an eviction to be legal, and all tenants have rights with regard to eviction.  AVP can provide support and information on eviction prevention for LGBTQ+ survivors of violence, and survivors of violence living with or affected by HIV.


Know Your Rights!

You have the right to a court process before being evicted.

  • If you have been residing in your apartment for more than 30 calendar days or have a signed occupancy or lease agreement, you cannot be evicted unless a housing court judge enters an eviction order. 
  • This means your landlord or supportive housing program cannot change your apartment locks or prevent you from entering your building without an official eviction order from a judge even if you are “discharged” or “terminated” from your program.  

You have the right to an attorney in an eviction proceeding.

You can request an attorney during your first court appearance or by calling the AVP Hotline (212-714-1411) to connect you with our Legal Department or to provide you with referrals to other legal organizations. 

You have the right to be notified of your tenant terms.

If you live in PERMANENT (unlicensed) supportive housing, including scattered-site and single site/congregate units: 

  • You cannot be transferred to another unit without your consent.  

If you live in TRANSITIONAL (licensed) supportive housing, including Community Residence SROs, and Level II apartment treatment programs: 

  • You have the right to receive a clearly written occupancy agreement from your provider.  
  • You have the right to file a grievance against your supportive housing provider through their internal grievance procedure or by contacting the New York State Office of Mental Health at 1-800-597-8481. 


It is illegal for someone to pressure or force you to leave your home.

  • You have the right to stay in your home unless you receive an Eviction Order signed by a Judge and delivered by a Marshal or Sheriff. 
  • Your landlord cannot evict you verbally or through letters or notices that are not signed by the court. 
  • If you receive a notice or paperwork and are unsure if it is an Eviction Order, call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline to get more information.  A notice to appear in court does not mean you have to leave your home.
  • It is illegal for someone to shut off your utilities to try to get you to leave or as a punishment. You have the right to heat, hot water, and electricity. 

It is illegal for your landlord to lock you out of your home.

  • If you signed a lease, you are protected against a lockout as soon as you move in. 
  • You cannot be locked out or “discharged” from a program, even if you signed papers saying you are in a private treatment/ recovery/ other program. 
  • If you did NOT sign a lease, you are protected against a lockout if you have lived in the same place for at least 30 days. 

What if I live in supportive housing?

Supportive housing is affordable housing managed by the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) that has on-site supportive social services for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The two types of supportive housing are congregate (the entire apartment building) and scattered-site (individual rooms in the City-owned by private landlords). As a resident of supportive housing, you have the same rights in an eviction as any other tenant. 

If you are illegally locked out of your home...

  • Call 911 right away. Lockouts are criminal behavior and a misdemeanor under the “illegal eviction law.” 
    • NYPD’s role is to protect the rights of a person who is being or has been unlawfully evicted. 
    • The NYPD may take action against someone trying to remove a tenant if they have probable cause to believe it is an unlawful eviction. 
    • The NYPD can keep the peace on the scene while you take steps to get back into your
  • Call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline to get a referral to a free legal service provider.
    • You can also call 311 and ask for HPD to report utility shut-offs. HPD should inspect and, where warranted, write a violation. 
  • Go to the housing court in your borough (found here) to file an Order to Show Cause for emergency relief to be let back into your home. 

More information and resources

The Advocacy Unit (AU) at AVP can support clients with their supportive housing needs. If you would like to consult with an AVP Advocate, connect with an AVP Advocate by calling or texting the AVP Hotline: 212-714-1141