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Rent an apartment after housing court?

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Rent an apartment after housing court?

Postby Erica1962 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:10 am

What would be the best strategy for renting an apartment in NYC if I've been in housing court for non-payment of rent?

Does anyone know what percentage of landlords pull a tenant screening report?

Would a broker be helpful at all? Would they know which landlords don't do a background check?


The background:
Last year, I worked for a company that went bankrupt so I wasn't getting paid and got behind in my rent. After receiving the court notice, I paid my rent and got caught up. I've lived in the apartment for a year since that incident and am current on my rent. I am now looking for a less expensive apartment but realize the case will show up on a tenant screening report for any apartment to which I apply. There seems to be a lot written about the "tenant blacklist" and how to stay off it, but very little written on what to do if you're on the list.
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:20 am

First, you don't say what the result of the case was. Were you evicted? If that's not the case, was there a judgment against you? Many tenants pay once a case is commenced and the case is then discontinued. Did you sign a stip that consents to a judgment? If you did and if you weren't represented by an attorney, there are sometimes ways to get that judgment taken off.

Look at the forum's reference section and the part on the blacklist. It's possible you might not be on the blacklist, or if you are on, maybe you shouldn't be on. There are ways to have your name removed from the blacklist, especially if the case was discontinued or ended without a judgment.

See this
http://tenant.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=702

Also look at this:
http://www.tenant.net/alerts/articles/i ... ances.html
Last edited by TenantNet on Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Erica1962 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:07 am

Thank you for responding. I did a self-check for my name on one of the online services and the record did show up so I'm guessing it's in all the tenant databases.

The case was discontinued without prejudice, however, because it was filed it does show up in as a "new civil filing" in the tenant report.

Timing was such:

Original Month
1 - missed rent payment

Next Month
1 - missed rent payment, previous month's rent now 30 days past due
22 - received rent demand letter from landlord's attorney (rent demand letter was dated 13th)
29 - date on the notice of petition from the landlord's attorney
29 - paid rent for Original month, Next Month, and Third month

Third Month
2 - rent checks cleared bank
6 - date the online record shows as the file date
21 - notice of discontinuance from landlord's attorney

I never submitted any responses to the case or had an attorney in the matter. I sent my rent payment over at the same time as the petition was being done and because they accepted my rent payment, I didn't realize there was a problem.

Would the fact that the rent checks cleared before the file date shown on the online record mean that I might possibly be able to get the record expunged?

Either way, I'm already on the "bad tenant" lists, so it doesn't really matter, right?

I did read that very helpful article and am preparing an application letter as suggested, however, it seems very difficult to find ways to apply to actual landlords. The online listing services seem to be stuffed with brokers - even in the "by owner" sections. It's possible to find the management for the big buildings, but I suspect they all pull tenant reports and won't consider any special circumstances.
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:05 am

"..."new civil filing" in the tenant report."

Do you mean the court database such as Ecourts, or in a Credit Reporting agency?

You say the case was discontinued. But are you sure it wasn't discontinued by a stip where you consented to a final judgment? What does the "discontinuance" document say?

If it was discontinued, then it should not show up there. Take steps to have it removed. Again, look at the reference section of the forum.
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:06 am

Also, specifically, what online databases have you seen your name or case show up? (don't list any personal information here).
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Postby Erica1962 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:52 pm

I am not listed in Ecourts.
The tenant report I mentioned is from EvictionRecords.com

The filing from the landlord says "Please take notice that pursuant to CPLR 3127 (a) (1) Petitioner hereby discontinues the above-referenced proceedings without prejudice." The filing is labeled as a "Notice of Discontinuance"
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Renting an apartment with Housing Court Records

Postby oshma » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:18 pm

Erin1962, I am in that position as well. I spoke to a real estate broker who essentially told me to forget it--Housing Court is "the kiss of death."

So I am stuck never being able to move in with my partner, as she doesn't earn enough money to rent something big enough for us, and I can't be on the lease.

I even suggested really sketchy areas of the city, and the agent said not to bother. :(
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Postby Erica1962 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:14 pm

Oshma - Don't get discouraged by that broker. I was able to find a new apartment, in spite of the housing court record. Yay!

Here was my experience:

I found that using a buyer broker was not helpful at all. I thought that if I explained my situation that they might be able to help me position my application better, but that just wasn't the case. I found it was easier to go on streeteasy and find apartments myself. I looked for broker-listed apartments because that way, the broker would get to keep the entire fee by working with me rather than splitting the fee with a buyer broker. I also didn't try and negotiate the broker fee down so that they would get the full 15%. That made the listing broker favor my application above all others.

I avoided "bigger"/premium places like Halstead or Corcoran because I tried one of those and they checked a tenant database and turned me down. I also applied for only apartments where I was solidly above the "must make more than 40x rent" rule of thumb so there would be no other question about my abili to pay.

I prepared a really organized and comprehensive application package with complete materials including pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, references, etc. I got my current landlord to issue me a letter stating that I was current with my rent, which I included. In the package, I also put a copy of my credit report that I had just run. My housing record doesn't show up on my credit report--only in the tenant database. By having the good credit report there, the broker didn't re-pull my credit report. When the landlord found the record and asked about it, I countered with an offer of either a) extra month's security deposit or b) Insurent* rent insurance. The landlord decided to take the extra month of security deposit. Then.....Approval!

So, it did cost me extra money because of the housing court record, but it was possible to find a new apartment.

*I learned that Insurant does not care if you have a housing court record, only that your credit score is over 700 and you have good income. They also have a list of Insurent properties on their website, which was going to be my next strategies if I didn't get this apartment.

Good luck!
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Postby Emeraldstar » Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:03 pm

Hi All
Thank you so much for the share. It's good to know :wink:
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