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Housing cases in Small Claims Court -- Why?

Posted by T.L. on March 28, 1997 at 03:23:28:

I just received a summons from my landlord for non-payment of rent
to appear in Small Claims court. His claim is totally unsubstantiated.
But, I suspected he might try something like this, and have return-receipts
from all my rent checks. However, that's besides the point of this memo.
What I've noticed is the tendancy of my landlord to sue tenants in
small claims court rather than housing court. Is this a trend among other
landlords? Our tenant assoc. won a satisfying victory against him last year,
in housing court, and he may be afraid to go back. Last year he brought
cases against approx. 10 tenants in small claims (our building only has
28 apartments). In '97 he has taken about 3 tenants to small claims court
so far. I don't know why small claims judges even hear his cases. In the
past one judge asked why he wasn't in housing court and he responded that
he is a senior citizen and was told his case would be heard more sooner in
small claims court. Of course it is much cheaper for him to sue in small
claims, but it seems to me that he is abusing the small claims
system (not to mention the fact that he's filing a frivolous claim against
me). Is there suggested strategy to ask the judge to dismiss the case?


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