I have signed a 6-month lease to rent my apartment in New York City, Manhattan to a tenant starting January 1st. (I rented my apartment for 6-months to join my husband who was sent to Bangkok for a project). My tenant paid first and last months rent and a security deposit. When she was moving into the apartment, she claimed that somebody changed the locks as the keys I gave her (and they worked fine when she used them in my presence) didn’t work. She changed the locks and moved in. (I, of course, suspect that she just lost the keys and made up the whole story).
On Jan.14 she wrote me an e-mail saying that she wants to leave the apartment because she “doesn’t feel safe due to the locks situation.” I responded via e-mail reassuring her that I can’t imagine who would change the locks (may be the lock just got stuck), suggesting that she calls the building manager and the previous tenants about the security of the building. I also stated that if she wants to break the lease for other reasons, that is a different matter and that in accordance with the lease agreement her February rent is due on Feb.1st and if she doesn’t pay by Feb.10th, I will conclude that she decided to break the lease. She responded saying that she doesn’t want to pay a full amount (she wants to deduct the price of locks and moving expenses – about $1,000)
As I haven’t received any money on Feb.10th I sent her another letter (in the e-mail) stating that “if I don’t receive the full amount by Monday, February 13th, I will go to court and start the eviction proceedings. I also asked her to confirm that she will move out by Feb. 28th and I or my representative can pick up the keys from. She ignored my letter and I am sure she will not pay the rent on Feb.13th.
What are my next actions? Do I need to send her another “10-day notice of lease breach” or ”3 days notice to pay rent or lease terminates” - the forms available on your web site? Or should I sent her “Non payment Petition and Notice of Petition”? Can you send me a sample form? Or do I wait until Feb.28 and send her a "Petition and Notice of Petition Holdover"? Can I send these notices myself or should I have an attorney to do it for me? Can I terminate the lease and start eviction proceedings even if she pays the rent sometime after Feb.13th but before Feb.28th?
Thank you very much for your help!