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Service of Process (Delivery of Legal Document) FAQs

What is Service of Process?

The delivery of copies of legal documents to the defendant or other person to whom the documents are directed. Legal documents which must be served include a summons, complaint, petition, order to show cause, subpoena, notice to quit the premises and certain other documents. The procedure for service of process is specifically set out in statutes.

What Happens if the Legal Documents are Not Served the Right Way?

If you don't serve a tenant, the right way the Judge may make you start all over again. The case may be dismissed without prejudice to you starting over.

May a Landlord Serve the Legal Papers Personally?

No. The landlord/owner can't serve the legal papers because a person having a direct interest in a legal matter, transaction or proceeding can't serve their legal papers. The landlord should have a process server deliver legal papers.

What if There are Other People Living in the Home?

Every adult that is listed in the legal papers must be served with his or her own set of the legal papers. This includes any legal papers that are mailed.

What Happens if the Tenant Never Picks Up the Certified Copy of the Legal Papers from the Post Office?

The Court considers the legal papers served whether the tenant picked up the certified mailing or not, as long as the rest of the rules were followed.


Gordon Legal, PC is committed to answering your questions about landlord-tenant law .

We offer a free initial phone consultation to Queens, New York landlords and tenants and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.