law

How to Take Your Landlord to Court in NYC

Category: Real Estate

If you’re having trouble with your landlord, it may be necessary to take them or the management agency acting on their behalf to the court.

You have the right to live in a home in good condition. Before you file a petition before the court to make repairs or satisfy other needs of your lease, you’ll want to take these four steps before proceeding.

  • Send a demand letter by certified mail to your landlord that states what you seek. If you want mold issues fixed, be clear about the particulars.
  • Include pictures or professional evaluations that confirm the issue exists in your home.
  • Set a deadline for those repairs or the lease violation to be corrected.
  • Call 311 to make a complaint to HPD.

If the issue is not addressed, you’ll file a Housing Part case (HP action, HP case) when repairs are not made, or services are not provided.

HP cases can be filed by yourself, or they can be done by a group of tenants in your building. This action applies when you need violations in your home remedies or if problems exist in the public areas.

How Do I File an HP Action?

When you need to have repairs completed in your home or a service isn’t provided, you can get the forms and instructions on how to fill them out for an HP action from the Housing Court clerk. You’ll need to know the name and address of your landlord because a PO Box cannot be used.

You’ll need to make sure that the person you are suing with an HP action is the building’s correct owner. If a property management agency is involved and their actions are deficient, similar steps are typically necessary.

One of the forms you’ll fill out at this stage of the correction process is an inspection request. That’s where you’ll fill out what exactly is wrong with the public areas or your home in the building. You should only write one violation per line.

If you need more space, additional blank forms are available from the clerk if you need them. Return the documents to the clerk once you’ve filled them out, and they’ll be sent over to a judge for them to sign.

You’ll get several copies of the forms in return, along with an inspection day and the time when you should return to court.

Do I Have to Pay to File an HP Action?

filing papers

Everyone can fill out the fee waiver document to request that the judge not make you pay the cost of the HP action.

Filling out the document does not guarantee that the judge will approve the request.

The fee for the HP action is $45. It must be paid with a bank check, money order, or cash. Courts in NYC will not accept personal checks as payment.

What If My Landlord Agrees to Make the Repairs?

agree

Some landlords agree to make repairs after receiving notice of an HP action. You can agree to sign a pre-printed consent order, which is something you should ask for if the violation appeared on the inspection report.

If the landlord refuses to sign, you can still negotiate an agreement. This stimulation includes all the terms to which you’ve agreed, with all parties needing to sign the document.

The stipulation should include a list of all the repairs and when they’ll be finished. It’s a great idea to add dates and times that allow access to make sure everything gets fixed. By including this information, you’ll potentially avoid problems if the landlord claims you didn’t allow access for the work.

What If My Landlord Doesn’t Fix the Problem?

broken door

If your landlord starts making repairs, you should keep track of when they’re completed. Your documentation should also include what work isn’t getting finished.

Please remember to have someone in your apartment on the agreed-upon access dates to let the landlord and repair specialists in to address the problem.

Should the landlord not finish the repairs by the deadline, you’ll need to reopen your case with the court. You can file an order that shows cause for contempt because of the failure to comply.

That means your landlord could get fined, jailed, or face other penalties. Any fines get paid to the city.

This content is not intended to provide legal advice. If you need assistance with your apartment or another rental, please consult with an experienced attorney. We’re movers, not lawyers.

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