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advantages of various courts

Posted by chelsea on June 15, 2001 at 21:36:40:

The following, the part between the dashes, is from a posting by NYHawk during an earlier discussion on this forum of the advantages of the various courts:


The law allows tenants three options: either filing a rent overcharge complaint with DHCR, starting a lawsuit in Supreme Court
(Civil Court if the amount in controversy is under $25,000.00) or, most commonly, counterclaiming (suing the other party who
sued you in the same lawsuit) in a non-payment proceeding in Housing Court.

Supreme Court is clearly a much better place to sue alleging a rent overcharge for several reasons: Supreme Court usually has
better judges than in Housing Court; the rules of procedure in Supreme Court are much better from a tenant's perspective than
in Housing Court (most significantly discovery is available in Supreme Court, but only available with permission in Housing
Court, and hard to get); if a tenant is counterclaiming in Housing Court it is a defensive posture, rather than an offensive posture
if suing in Supreme Court.

The option of filing a rent overcharge complaint with DHCR seems to be the worst option of all three, but the one tenants seem
to select the most. (Perhaps because of their unawareness of the pitfalls of filing a complaint with DHCR.) First, it takes a very
long time to have DHCR decide a rent overcharge complaint, and in the event the tenant wins the landlord can appeal (called a
PAR) without having to put up the overcharge award amount. (In contrast, in a Supreme Court case, if the landlord wanted to
appeal, it would have to put up the judgment amount or a bond (the equivalent of the full money amount). Having to put up the
money is certainly a disincentive for a landlord to appeal. Also, the PAR appeal will likely take a few more years. Second,
DHCR is very pro landlord. This is now a given and to discuss that point any further is foolish.


Since I've heard of very few overcharge cases in
"regular" (non-Housing) Civil Court or in Supreme Court, I decided to look some up. I think's housing cases are just from Housing Court. I wasn't able to find any on Nexis either. I was just wondering, how common are these cases? Has any on the forum had experience with them? Do they really work out better than Housing Court?


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