A Tenant's Guide To Housing Court

Table Of Contents


Part I -- What To Do When You Receive A Non-Payment Petition (Dispossess)

Answering The Dispossess

  • Improper Service
  • General Denial
  • Payment
  • Breach of Warranty of Habitability (Bad Conditions)
  • Stale Rent
  • Rent Overcharge
  • Illegal Multiple Dwelling


  • Breach of Warranty of Habitability (Bad Conditions)
  • Rent Overcharge
  • Harassment
  • Failure to Pay Interest on Security Deposits
  • Damage to Personal Property Due to Landlord's Negligence
  • Personal Injury
  • Cost of Repairs the Landlord Refused to Make ("Repair and Offset")

What Happens If You Don't Answer The Dispossess

Going To Court

Pressure To Settle

Some Common Settlements

  • Converting a Non-Payment Petition to a Holdover Petition
  • Adjourning the Case for Repairs
  • Consenting to a Final Judgment
  • Settling for Money
  • Agreeing on a "Pay Out" Schedule

Obtaining The Money

Scheduling A Trial

The Landlord's Case

Proving Tenant's Defenses

  • Improper Service
  • Payment
  • Rent Overcharge
  • Bad Conditions In Your Apartment
  • Stale Rent/Landlord's Delay
  • Illegal Multiple Dwelling

Ending The Trial

After The Trial

Part II -- How To Stop An Eviction By Getting An Order To Show Cause

To Get An Order To Show Cause, Follow These Steps

  • Get a blank Order to Show Cause and Affidavit
  • Fill in the Affidavit
  • The Clerk will fill in the dates on the Order to Show Cause
  • The judge will read your Affidavit and decide whether to sign the Order to Show Cause
  • Serve the Signed Order to Show Cause on the Marshal
  • Serve the Signed Order to Show Cause on the Landlord
  • Go to court
  • Answer "tenant" when your case is called

Part III -- How To Force Your Landlord To Repair Violations

What Is A Housing Part (Hp) Action?

How To Prepare To Bring An Hp Action

How To Serve The Papers

How To Handle An Hp Action In Court

How To Follow Up


Part IV -- Other Housing Court Cases


Article 7-A Proceedings

Part V -- Where To Get Help

Community Organizations

Legal Services Programs

Part VI -- Sample Papers


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