A Tenant's Guide To Housing Court
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This booklet is designed to help you handle non-payment proceedings and Housing Part (HP) actions in Housing Court without an attorney. Although it's always better to have an attorney if you can get one, many tenants can't. This booklet is written for Brooklyn tenants, but most of the information in it can also be used by residents of other boroughs.
Part I of the booklet explains the most common action in Housing Court, the non-payment case. Part II tells you how to stop an eviction by getting an Order to Show Cause. Part III explains how to bring a Housing Part (HP) action to force your landlord to repair bad conditions in your apartment. Part IV gives a brief explanation of holdover cases, in which landlords seek to evict tenants for reasons other than non-payment of rent. Part IV also discusses Article 7A proceedings, in which tenants seek to have an administrator appointed by the court to run their building because the landlord has failed to maintain it. A list of Legal Services and Legal Aid offices begins on page 57.
This booklet assumes that you will end up in Housing Court to resolve your problem with the landlord. Whatever your reason for going there -- bad conditions, no services, rent overcharges, or just a problem getting the rent money -- Housing Court is usually noisy, crowded, harassing, and confusing. Worst of all, Housing Court is sometimes abusive and unfair. Some judges are less favorable to tenants than others. Lawyers and experienced landlords sometimes have an advantage because they know how the court works. Unfortunately, since there are not enough free Legal Services or Legal Aid lawyers to represent all the low-income tenants who need help, the vast majority of tenants represent themselves in Housing Court. This booklet provides basic information about your rights as a tenant and the Court's procedures so that you will have a better chance of getting justice in Housing Court.
Go to Part 1