Few things are as annoying as having to deal with squatters on your New York City property. This is compounded because in this jurisdiction, squatters do indeed have rights. Learn how you can fight back and take legal possession of your property once again.
Remember, time is most certainly not on your side. In order to be considered a legal tenant, a squatter has only to occupy your property for 30 days. At that point, you will need to judicially evict them from your property. Prior to the 30 days, you can still press charges for criminal trespassing.
Squatters often sidestep trespassing charges by improving the property in some small ways. Securing doors and windows, painting the trim and even planting flowers can all negate the charges of trespassing.
Sometimes, the issue may not be with outright squatters but with holdover tenants who remain on the premises after their leases expire. To do this, they have to continue paying the rent. Landlords may still accept the rent without acquiescing to the situation. In these cases, the person becomes a "tenant at will," i.e., the will of the landlord/property owner and subject to immediate eviction with no notice.
It is generally a good idea to avoid entering into these kind of quasi-legal landlord-tenant relationships. In the case of long term squatters, they can actually become the property's legal owners through the process of adverse possession.
That's something that you definitely want to avoid. If you are experiencing problems with one of your tenants, you should immediately loop in your real estate attorney for advice and guidance on how to manage your situation.