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Counterclaim to false NP case

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Counterclaim to false NP case

Postby Kknyc » Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:11 pm

I'll try to make this quick! I live in an RS apt and immediately after signing the lease, I began to notice water spots appearing on the ceiling. I informed the LL (which is the bldng mgr, I have no personal contact with owner) immediately and found out that water leaks from the roof have been a problem in this apt for 20+ years.

Fast forward to present. LL never repaired leak. Every time it rains, my apt literally floods. In September, the leak got terrible. Water streaming down the walls in every room. I have contacted LL numerous times over the past year with no response and no repairs. I began withholding my rent in Oct and Nov, as I planned to begin a court case against them for repairs and rent overcharge. I went ahead and sent rent for Oct/Nov in December and LL cashed my rent checks on Dec 22nd.

During Christmas, it rained all week and my apt floors again severely. I finally got LL on phone on Dec 27th and demanded repairs and that I would have no choice but to take them to court if they did not make the repairs. I also asked for compensation for the rent overcharge relating to a rent reduction order that was in place when my lease was signed. LL told me he would talk to owner and get everything fixed and ask if I could transfer to another vacant apt, at my request. Never received a call back. 2 days later, LL filed a non-payment case against me stating that I have no paid rent for Oct, Nov, and now December. I clearly have proof I paid PRIOR to the court filing. Dec rent was never been demanded from me, so essentially their case should be dismissed.

However, I would like to make a motion for their claims to be dismissed b/c they are false claims and the court has no jurisdiction WHILE at the SAME time putting in a counterclaim for lack of repairs, harassment, and rent overcharge.

Is it possible to do a counterclaim with all of these things at once? Do I have to start an HP action at the same time I submit my answer? This is all happening so quickly and I haven't been able to find a tenant attorney yet that I can afford.
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Re: Counterclaim to false NP case

Postby TenantNet » Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:33 pm

First you say you withheld rent Oct/Nov. But then you say you sent it in. Which is it?

If you got the LL (or Mgr) on the phone, follow up in writing so you have a record.

Moving to another unit can be tricky and dangerous. Be VERY careful there.

On the non-payment case, did LL send you a 3-Day Notice to Pay? That is required for any non-pay case.

Either way, as you've paid, then yes, it should be dismissed.

You should be able to counter-claim, but some judges - being lazy - will sever your claims. For bad conditions you will want to ask for an abatement. Put that in your answer.

To be honest, I don't know if Housing Court would hear your case for overcharge on a prior rent reduction. DHCR might have jurisdiction on that. Of course you can ask. Harassment is also tricky, especially since they supposedly beefed up the law on that. But many, including us, saw that change in the law as merely pandering to voters. I've yet to see real change in the ability to claim harassment.

Even so, you should research that. Don't let us stop you :)

You would put in all counterclaims as 1st CC, 2 CC, 3 CC, etc., separate paragraphs. If you write your own answer (and serve it on LL), you can do that. Otherwise, if you answer orally to the clerk in Housing Court, just tell him all items and he should put it on the form. Make sure he does.

You can do an HP, but AFAIK, you can't add those claims as part of the HP. And you should be able to do a HP simultaneously with the NP proceeding. You don't have to do both, but as the LL started this, you can force him to show up for both. (I've done that)

On the leakage, look up the recent law change for "underlying conditions." Start here.
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