The Housing Part of the New York City Civil Court was established in 1973 to enforce State and local laws regulating housing maintenance standards in New York City. As such, lawsuits to collect rent, evict people or enforce state and local laws regarding housing conditions are brought in Housing Court. This is a Guide for landlords to the Housing Part of the Civil Court of the City of New York, more commonly known as the Housing Court.
This Guide can help you to understand the kinds of cases (lawsuits) you can start against a tenant and what you can do if a tenant brings a case against you. Not all housing problems can or should be solved in the Housing Court. Many problems can be solved by talking with your tenant. Even if you do not have a problem with your tenant, this Guide gives basic tips to help prepare you for common questions or difficulties that can arise in a landlord-tenant relationship. This Guide discusses the most common types of court procedures and situations that arise in Housing Court. No Guide, including this one, can cover every landlord’s case. However, it will be helpful to know how to pursue your legal remedies against a tenant if you are unable to retain an attorney. In addition, it will be helpful to understand what is required of you by the law as a landlord. This Guide will also discuss what happens if a tenant or group of tenants brings a case against you for repairs.
This Guide is not a substitute for a lawyer .If you do not have a lawyer but the tenant does have a lawyer, you will probably be at a disadvantage. In addition, if you fill out legal papers by yourself, there are many mistakes that can be made. If a mistake is made, the case may be dismissed and you will be forced to start the whole process over again. If you would like further information, you may go to the “Resource Center” located in the Housing Court in each borough. At the Resource Center, you will find written information and videos, as well as Housing Court Counselors, who are attorneys employed by the court. These attorneys cannot give you legal advice, but they can give you important and helpful information about how to fill out forms and what may happen when you go into the courtroom. In addition, Volunteer Lawyers, who may be able to give you legal advice, are available in the Resource Center.
Honorable Fern A. Fisher Administrative Judge Civil Court of the City of New York October 2003
Compiled and written by the Civil Court of the City of York, with thanks to Hon. Margaret Cammer, Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Committee on Housing Court, and Deborah E. Fisher, Esq., Rochelle Klempner, Esq., and Phyllis N. Harris, Esq.
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