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What Do I Bring to Court to Prove My Case?

You will need to bring all evidence necessary to prove your claim or your defense when you come to court. Anything that will help prove the facts in dispute should be brought to court. Original documents, including written agreements, leases, receipts, and photographs will be required, if available. Any documents from public or government agencies must be certified by the agency producing the document.

You should bring any or all of the following that apply to your case:

  • original or certified copy of the deed to the building
  • the lease for the party you are suing if there is a lease
  • certified copies of registration statements (e.g., DHCR rent and building registration, multiple dwelling registration statement
  • record keeping books or computer rent printouts
  • any other documents relevant to the claims you are making
  • witnesses (e.g., if conditions are an issue in your case, you should bring a superintendent or mechanic who can testify as to attempts to gain access or attempts to repair conditions in the apartment; or a witness who saw certain behavior which you would like to present to the court).

A witness must appear in person. A signed and notarized statement cannot be used in the place of live testimony and is not admissible as evidence in your case. If you are unable to obtain a document you need or if a witness refuses to appear in court to testify, you may ask for a subpoena in the Landlord/Tenant Clerk’s office. A subpoena is a document that orders someone, including a City agency, to appear or, to produce a written document or record in court. You must apply for a subpoena no later than 48 hours before the trial date. You can obtain information on subpoenas from a Resource Center.

You will be expected to have all of your evidence and witnesses in court on the day the case is scheduled for a trial. If you do not have a necessary document or witness, your case may be dismissed and you will have to start again from the beginning. Or, if you are the respondent in the case, you could lose the whole case just because you did not appear.


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