To find a lawyer:
Lawsuits brought in Housing Court should be taken seriously. Your landlord will probably have the assistance of a lawyer, and you should find a lawyer to help you if you can.
The following organizations can be of help:
Legal Referral Service (212) 626-7373:
If you can afford a lawyer, but do not know how to find one, Legal Referral Service will refer you to a lawyer who will charge a $35.00 consultation fee for the first half-hour. If you decide to hire the lawyer after this consultation, you and the lawyer will work out the fee that you will pay.
Legal Aid Society (212) 577-3300 and Legal Services (212) 431-7200:
These organizations are available free of charge if you cannot afford a lawyer.
To get more information on your rights in Housing Court:
The City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court has information tables in most Housing Courts, or you can call them at (212) 962-4795 or the Metropolitan Council on Housing at (212) 979-0611.
For legal and procedural information at the courthouse:
There is a Resource Center in every Housing Court where you can view videos about Housing Court procedures and get written information and forms. There is also an attorney present to give you legal information. In addition, the Volunteer Lawyers Program offers free legal advice on a limited basis at each of the Resource Centers.
To get information about Housing Court over the internet:
The Civil Court maintains a website that provides detailed information about the Civil Court. The legal and procedural sections include more information about the topics covered in this booklet. You can also download Civil Court forms for free. The website is also available in Spanish. You can visit the website at: http://nycourts.gov/nychousing.
To get information about Housing Court over the telephone:
The Civil Court’s interactive telephone service provides legal and procedural information. It is available at (646) 386-5700. The service is provided 24 hours and is available in Spanish.
To get an interpreter:
The Clerk or the Judge at the Housing Court will get an interpreter for you. There is no charge for this service.
To apply for public assistance:
Go to your local office of the New York City Department of Social Services (“DSS”). Also, check to see if there is a DSS liaison office in the Housing Court in your borough.
For rental assistance:
The Emergency Rent Coalition is a group of NYC charities that provides financial assistance to tenants facing eviction. Which charities have funding available changes from week to week. To see who may be able to help you, call the City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court, Inc, rental arrears hotline at (212) 962-4795.
To report bad housing conditions and heat or hot water complaints:
Call the New York City Hotline at 311.
To organize other tenants in your building:
Call the Metropolitan Council on Housing at (212) 979-0611.
To claim discrimination:
If your landlord is discriminating against you due to your age, race, gender, sexual orientation or any other grounds, call the New York City Commission on Human Rights at (212) 306-7500 or the New York State Division of Human Rights at (718) 741-8400.
To bring an HP action:
Go to the HP Clerk in the courthouse or the Resource Center.
For information on 7A proceedings:
Call the HPD 7A Unit at (212) 863-7356.
For rent control and rent stabilization information:
Call the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal at (718) 739-6400. This office hears complaints about rent overcharges, landlord decreases in service, harassment by the landlord, refusal to renew your lease, and other problems.
For security deposit complaints:
Call the New York State Attorney General’s
Consumer Frauds & Protection Bureau: at (212) 416-8300.