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Defenses, Counterclaims & PartX

Posted by CarmenRamon on February 12, 1999 at 07:37:54:

We're NYC rent-stabilized. After trying to get the landlord to fix a few things, we gave up & started to pay only part of the rent. Landlord sued. We answered pro se (don't qualify for any free legal service but can't afford an attorney either). The clerk added "warranty of habitality" to the pre-printed form but would not write "counterclaims": he said we needed to give him an exact dollar amount. We've read about "affirmative defenses" and "counterclaims" here, in the info available at court and elsewhere and tried to, but couldn't, see the pro se atty but never understood the difference.
In Resolution Part, their attorney & the judge both would only discuss the reduced/lack of services (biggies= heat, building door lock) from the date we paid less than the full rent. They also both suggested the claimed Rent Overcharge should be handled by DCHR.
So we got sent to PartX and have to go back in March.

The Question:
It seems like the rent abatement & refund for the months that we paid the full rent (and the overcharges for the same period) is only a counterclaim which would explain why they would not discuss those months. Is this true? Can someone explain or point us to a good written explanation on the web or in the library? Thank you.

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