Settlements and Stipulations

You and your landlord may reach a settlement to your case in the Resolution Part, in mediation, or even in the Trial Part, with or without the assistance of the Judge, the court attorney or the court mediator. Reaching an agreement is usually easier in a nonpayment case than in a holdover case, since the landlord usually wants you to move out in a holdover case. Most nonpayment cases are settled rather than tried.

Be careful. Agree only to what you think is fair and be sure you can do what you promise. Be sure you know what legal rights you may be giving up. Do not sign anything until you have read and understood the whole agreement and if you have any questions, wait until the court attorney or the Judge has explained to you what you are signing. If you have any questions or doubts, you have the right to talk to the Judge.

In a nonpayment proceeding, if the issue is repairs, the stipulation should set up access dates and completion dates for existing repairs. If the landlord is agreeing to waive some of the rent you owe because of the conditions you have lived with in the apartment, the stipulation should specify the amount and time period covered. If the stipulation sets up an installment plan for you to pay back rent over time, be sure that you will be able to make the payments you are agreeing to make. If you are expecting rent money from the Department of Social Services, keep in mind that there can sometimes be delays.

Remember, if the stipulation contains a final judgment for the landlord and you fail to make a payment, a Judge may not sign an Order to Show Cause giving you more time to pay unless you can deposit all of the money due on the judgment with the Court, or unless the stipulation says that you can get more time without depositing all of the rent money.

In a holdover case, the stipulation should give you enough time to correct any issues which you have agreed to take care of. If you have agreed to give up the apartment or the landlord has agreed to waive rent in exchange for giving up the apartment, the stipulation should give you enough time to find a place to move.

If you cannot pay on time, or cannot do other things you promised in the stipulation, go to the Landlord-Tenant Clerk’s office and ask for an Order to Show Cause to get more time. (See p. 16, Section 5B, “Order to Show Cause“) A Judge will read your affidavit and decide whether to give you more time. If your request for more time is denied, you may be evicted if you cannot pay on time or keep other promises you made in the agreement.