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Got petition of non-payment today. Can anyone answer ASAP?

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Postby JGT » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:06 pm

OK thanks a lot. I was just very put off by my experience with the clerks office and thought to myself, "If this is how they operate, I`m screwed" but I`ll be on my guard from now on and be ready to expect that kind of nonsense, and push this inspection no matter what kind of tricks they try to pull.

That I think is really going to throw my LL for a huge loop because he knows as well as I do this apartment has got to be one of the most dis-repaired places in NYC. Seriously; Just think of it and it`s broken, and he`s got the gall to charge me almost $1100 a month! I would move out of here in 2 seconds flat if I had the money.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:42 pm

Off topic, but like chalk screeching on a blackboard ...

An apostrophe is not an open single quote. On all your contractions, you write (for example) I`ll or I`m instead of using an apostrophe, I'll or I'm.

it`s -- should be it's
and so on.

I suspect you're using the open quot "`" below the tilde ~.

Please use the apostrophe "'", usually next to the Enter key.
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Postby JGT » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:07 pm

lol! THAT'S where it is!!! Seriously, I thought I didn't have one on my keyboard. I'm not kidding, last year I noticed that it didn't look right but I couldn't find any other one on the keyboard.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:23 pm

A lawyer who I knew many years ago at a corporate legal office wanted a new keyboard without a shift key because, as he said, he never used it.

Back then lawyers didn't type ... they used yellow legal pads and made suckertaries suffer.

Only 104 keys; of course you could have found it. And the one on the keyboard is not the curly quotes.

Pop quiz:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark_glyphs

You would never survive Pagemaker or DTP.
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Postby JGT » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:03 pm

Well thanks anyway. I'm sort of calming down now. I just really can't see how I can be evicted within a weeks time. I mean if that happens then something is REALLY wrong, truly corrupt in housing court. I mean seriously, if that happened the streets would be flooded with the homeless. "You are behind in rent, OK you are out in one week, case closed"...I just can't see that happening. Well I'm going to try to sleep. I'll let you know how it goes! THANKS!
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Postby JGT » Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:23 am

Oh yes by the way, Tenantnet if you are still reading this thread; When you said "Pay it forward" if I get this resolved, what did you mean? Pay rent in advance?
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:18 am

No, I meant help someone in distress.
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Postby JGT » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:39 am

Ok, thanks. Will do just that as this site has helped me tremendously. Also, if you have the time to answer another question - I read this in the tenant gude:

"If the landlord does not appear in court, the judge will probably dismiss the case. This means that you won; unfortunately, the landlord can bring another case against you at a later date."

Do you know if this means that the LL personally has to show up or just his lawyers? The reason I ask is that my LL lives very far away and it's quite possible he might not show up at all which is absolutely fine by me. He does that, by the time he files another case I'll probably have all the rent.
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:48 am

The LL, an officer from the company if the building is owned by a company, or the lawyers.

If they don't show, make an application for dismissal. It's up to a judge, not automatic.
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Postby JGT » Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:27 pm

I've been reading all the cases posted on this site (this site rules!) and found this case which is very interesting:

http://tenant.net/Court/Hcourt/index.html?x=1640

Appellate Term affirmed the trial court's award of a rent overcharge plus treble damages. The court held that the "landlord failed to establish the existence of apartment improvements justifying the rent increase sought under the Rent Stabilization Code."

So in other words to justify a rent increase, the LL must make improvements? Hmmmm....Same as this case, I'm rent stabilized, been overcharged an extra months security for the past 16 years, plus not once in those 16 years has he ever fixed anything much less "improved" it.

One thing I don't understand though is they say "court's award of a rent overcharge plus treble damages" so does this mean that if LL held onto an extra months security of $1000, $4000 was awarded to the tenant? "Rent overcharge times 3?" That's what it seems to be saying.

Just as a side note, here is a case where a tenant was brought to court SIX times for a non-payment proceeding (and I'm worried about one?)

http://tenant.net/Court/Hcourt/index.html?x=1561

Also today I got a card in the mail from housing court dated August 17th saying:

DISPOSSESS AND EVICTION PROCEEDING:
Papers have been sent you and filed with this court asking this court to evict you from your residence. You must appear in court and file an answer to the Landlords claim. If you have not received the papers, go to the housing court and bring this card with you.

Why am I getting this if it's a petition of non-payment case? Unless he also filed one for dispossess and eviction?
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:49 pm

JGT wrote:One thing I don't understand though is they say "court's award of a rent overcharge plus treble damages" so does this mean that if LL held onto an extra months security of $1000, $4000 was awarded to the tenant? "Rent overcharge times 3?" That's what it seems to be saying.


I can't think of a case off the top of my head, but yes, that would be an overcharge in my opinion.

In practical terms DHCR would bend over backwards to let the LL off the hook. They often make up laws that don't exist and refuse to enforce laws that protect tenants. You can also seek that in court as a counterclaim. You can get treble damages for a wilfull overcharge for the last two years. Beyond the two years you should be able to get interest at 9%.

You can insist that should be deducted from any rent you owe the LL. Including the treble. So if the deposit that the LL has is 2,000 (for two months), the overcharge would be $1,000. Treble would be $3,000 and claim that as an offset against any rent due.

On bad conditions or lack of repairs, ask for an abatement of rent. You might get a percentage off, but be aware the LL will claim you didn't tell him or that you denied access. Usually bullshit excuses but judges love to believe the landlords.

Dispossess and eviction are the same thing. Check the docket numbers to see if it's the same or a different case. I don't think they can legally maintain two or more cases simultaneously.

The card tells you when the first court fate is, and that you have so many days to put in your answer. The card comes from the Housing Court just in case the LL failed to serve you with papers.
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Postby JGT » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:34 pm

Oh my god I don't believe this. My LL scammed me! I just happened to be going through all my paperwork and noticed throughout the 16 years I've been living here, my LL has been only putting down only ONE months security on the lease when it has always been TWO! And I can't find ANY proof that is was two. Oh my god, I can't believe this!

The only proof I would have would be the money orders I sent him but I can't find the receipts, that was in February, and this letter he wrote me once demanding I pay the rent increase on the two months security as well, but THAT is gone as well. THIS SOB! All these years and he knew all along it was illegal so he didn't put it on the lease! I can't believe I never noticed this!

What are my options now besides tearing apart my apartment to look for evidence? Should I just inform the judge anyway? But the LL is just going to present the lease as evidence.
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Postby JGT » Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:37 pm

Oh WOW, sorry for posting all these messages but I have no one else to talk to, not even relatives. Plus maybe somewhere down the road someone might find this thread useful.

That message I wrote above? You are not going to believe this but I FOUND a letter that was signed by me and my LL when I first moved in back in Feb. of 1994 and it CLEARLY states I paid him THREE MONTHS rent!

And the way this guy wrote it out is real shady. He has it down as:

1st months rent: $700
Last months rent: $700
One month security: $700

And I know for a fact that the next month, March of that year 1994, I wrote him a rent check because I remembered the pride I had in it, and have been writing him rent checks every month until I became unemployed in 2010. So for all these years he has been sitting on that extra $700 and with every lease renewal, he has been making me pay increases in that two months security as well.

A case for fraud?
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Postby TJHillgardner » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:47 pm

In Queens Housing Court you should ask for an inspection when the case is on the calendar for the first time. The Court will adjourn the case for completion of the inspection and it is typical that an adjournment to the first available date is a three week adjournment, sometimes four. There are a lot of Jewish holidays on the calendar in September and something tells me you have hit the sweet spot and will score a one month adjournment! But asserting and pressing your warranty of habitability claim should be your focus first time on and the adjournment will be granted as of course with the granting of your application for an inspection. You will need to fill out a form; make sure you have an itemized list of every repair explaining in which room the item is located.

Then you need to focus on the apparent dispute that the parties have on the amount of rent owed. Ask the landlord to give you a "zero balance" accounting, i.e. an accounting going back to the last time that your balance was zero. Then you need to assemble your proofs of payment to identify if his accounting omits any payments you made. If its just those two $700 payments, it seems like there is no real dispute on amount and you are really going to have no problem in this case. But there is also the screaming illegality of the landlord holding two months rent as security. "Last month" is security. This constitutes a rent overcharge and you should assert a counterclaim of rent overcharge if you have not already done so. However, if you do file a rent overcharge counterclaim, it is incumbent that you go to DHCR Gertz Plaza and get a certified copy of your rent history going back to 1984. Check to see if there is a rent reduction order in place that pre-dates your tenancy. You may have a huge rent overcharge case. You do not want to settle a small overcharge and discover later you waived your right to enforce a huge one.

But with any luck, merely by asking for an inspection you will buy yourself the time to assemble the rent money. THEN once you have all your rent together don't be so fast to hand it over. Now you have the upper hand. Once you have the rent money in hand, demand a discount from the landlord for the horrid conditions you detail. On a $5500 rent bill demand he knock off 10%: $550. (Actually, demand more and settle for 10%). At this point I must chastise you: as a rent stabilized tenant you have rights and remedies so that you do not have to live in squalor - unless you have the LL from Hell who does whatever he wants and doesn't even obey court orders. Please allow this to serve as your wake up call and get your hands on the "Rent Stabilization Rider for Apartment Building Tenants in New York City" that is supposed to be attached (but almost never is) to each and every renewal lease. Read this document and keep it handy when you want a good, brief reference as to many of your rights and responsibilities as a rent stabilized tenant. You can find it here: http://nysdhcr.gov/Forms/Rent/ralr1.pdf
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Postby JGT » Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:21 am

TJHillgardner, you just made my week! No make that my YEAR! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!
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