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Perjury in Housing Court

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Perjury in Housing Court

Postby alinnyc » Tue Mar 26, 2002 11:50 am

In the last several years, my landlord has taken a number of tenants to Housing Court
in attempts to vacate and deregulate apartments. These are former Mitchell Lama tenants
now under Rent Stabilization.

In the Housing Court proceedings, there have been numerous instances of outright lying
by the landlord's employees and/or attorneys. Papers filed in the actions contained outright
lies that were clearly observable (e.g., sworn affidavits attesting to the content of letters that
had not yet been written as of the date of the affidavit.)

In a conference with a rather well-known Tenant/Landlord attorney, I mentioned the lying and
asked about perjury. The attorney laughed, stating that "everyone lies in Housing Court."
The attorney also said that in over 18 years of practice, they had never seen a perjury
prosecution from a Housing Court proceeding.

I told this story to a highly placed official in the Court System, and was informed that
lying in Housing Court, if it is proven, is punishable as perjury. They said that there have been
referrals for perjury made to the District Attorney for prosection, but the Office of the
District Attorney places a low priority on Housing Court issues.

Since perjury with impunity is apparently permissible in Housing Court, it seems to me
that no justice can be found there, whether it be for a landlord or a tenant.

Perhaps it's time to put some pressure on the District Attorney to do his job. I'm sure that a
few prosecutions for perjury in Housing Court would go a long way toward cleaning up many
of the abuses of the system that are going on. It would certainly make people think twice
before engaging in baseless proceedings.

When you consider that people's homes can be at stake, it should not be a "low priority."
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Re: Perjury in Housing Court

Postby TenantNet » Tue Mar 26, 2002 8:34 pm

So what you do is this: FOIL the referrals from the office of court administration (if possible). Come up with documented cases that can be well-proven. Get twenty tenants together (more if possible), form a coalition and build a case for the need for action. Go to City Hall (reserve the space first) and hold a press conference. Get press releases, get some city councilmember that wants to prove they are still liberal and make a royal stink. Call up reporters, get stories, trot out old ladies that have been evicted based on the lying, etc. In short, it won't happen unless you make it happen. Don't wait for us to do it for you.
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Re: Perjury in Housing Court

Postby Lilly » Tue Mar 26, 2002 8:51 pm

Don't worry - I think most housing court judges err on the side of the tenant, giving the tenant the benifit of the doubt; judges know LL's lie all the time. One thing that can't be lied about or covered up are building code violations; repairs have either been done or not. A follow-up inspection will reveal the LL's lie, if that's what he's lying about. Since you're rent stabilized, engaging baseless court proceedings are one form of harassment. If you're paying your rent, living in the apartment as your primary residence, not overcharging a roommate, and not causing a nuisance, with the exception of a LL's trying to recover the apartment for his personal use, then you're safe. But certain LL's litigate just to get you out, just to wear you down.
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Re: Perjury in Housing Court

Postby lappert » Tue Mar 26, 2002 10:51 pm

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Lilly:
[QB]Don't worry - I think most housing court judges err on the side of the tenant, giving the tenant the benifit of the doubt; judges know LL's lie all the time.

With all respect, what planet are you living on? Housing Court is the most pro-landlord anti-tenant forum around (well, except for DHCR -- but the only difference is that Housing Court makes decisions in less than ten years). Good One. LOL :p :p :p :p :p
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Re: Perjury in Housing Court

Postby <Red Zephyr> » Wed Mar 27, 2002 11:41 pm

Unfortunate that some people have no character and will lie under oath. Unfortunatly still, in housing court a great many of these liars are tenants. If prosecutors actively pressed charges against tenants for perjury you'd see a lot of tenants in jail. Not hard to think of the lies ... "The check's in the mail"..."I'll have the rent by next Monday"..."No, I don't sublet my $400 rent stab duplex for $2000 - I've been caring for my ailing mother in Florida for the past two years" ... I could go on and on.

As they say, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
<Red Zephyr>

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