Posted by the president on November 04, 2000 at 15:19:17:
The anti tenant posters try to scare you by telling you that you will wind up in landlord/tenant court. They make it sound like you will wind up in prison. If you know you are right and your rights are being violated... the court will set things right and make sure that your rights are given to you. The problem with court is the time involved .
The court sessions are held in the morning and sometimes they are adjourned and you have to appear several times to get it finished. You do not need a lawyer to represent you but you should get a " free OR $25 consultation " with a legal referral through the Bar Association in your State, to determine if you can handle it.
Any problems I had with my landlords of past, I handled myself and I cross examined them, their supers and whoever and whatever document ( subpoena duces tecum ) that I felt I needed to present my case. When you need a witness that is not a party to the case then you need to subpoena them and they may or may not be known as " hostile witnesses".IF YOU NEED A PAPER IN THE POSESSION OF THE LANDLORD ETC THEN YOU GET THAT WITH A SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM. All that matters is if you have your proof and your case well thought out with all the evidence you need to present it.
If you LOSE the case, the Judge will order you to pay the rent that you owe or you may be ordered to pay the rent MINUS the monies the Judge deems you were damaged. Just bring a check book with you and NEVER spend the rent that you're holding. Also ALWAYS SEND ALL LETTERS TO LANDLORD BY CERTIFIED MAIL RETURN RECEIPT. If you have a telephone conversation with a landlord or otherwise, m ake sure that you follow it up with a CERTIFIED letter stating the facts of the conversation etc. In New York State it is legal to tape telephone calls and they can be used as evidence. The legal threshold is if ONE of you knew that the call was taped. You can also carry a hidden tape recorder with you and tape various comments, noises, etc and again as long as ONE of you knew that there was a tape, then it is legal.
I have won many case by using tapes in court or sometimes just playing them for the people involved and they backed off. Check with the D.A. in NYC and they will tell you that tape is legal if ONE (you) are aware of it. You cannot tape others that you are not a party to unless you are law enforcement.
Do not live in fear of the word COURT. STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS !!!
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