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“So Ordered”

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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“So Ordered”

Postby Bd212nyc » Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:27 am

What does it mean if a settlement agreement wasnt ever So Ordered , signed by the judge?
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Re: “So Ordered”

Postby TenantNet » Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:35 pm

Bd212nyc wrote:What does it mean if a settlement agreement wasn't ever So Ordered , signed by the judge?


The short answer is that a "so ordered" designation means it's been read and approved by a judge in a matter. It is essentially the same as a judicial decision or order.

There are situations, often surrounding adjournments, where both parties will agree to an adjournment by a written stipulation. One or both parties might demand a stip be "so ordered." This means the parties must sit and wait until a judge can get to it.

If a settlement agreement was not so ordered, if one party was not represented by an attorney, that makes it easier to challenge. It can be challenged either way, but a "so ordered" stip and having both parties repped by lawyers, makes it more difficult.
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Re: “So Ordered”

Postby Bd212nyc » Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:02 pm

Thank you and apologies for not posting in the General Discussion section.

I am RS, this refers to a settlement agreement from years ago that wasnt ever signed “so ordered” by the judge. Both sides had attorneys. I would be very happy if the lack pf judges signature on the So Ordered means that this agreement is not enforceable, bc as it happens dhcr issued a rent reduction order back in 1995 that i never knew about at about the same time we signed this settlement agreement in 1995 . I only discovered this recently when i visited the dhcr office and caseworker dropped this gem of information.! Im currently involved with the landlords attny now in a different matter re lack of repairs. But wait: if the agreement wasnt So Ordered or signed, then maybe its not enforceable, which may mean ive been overcharged all these years, and conditions in my apt havent improved. Wahoo?
Last edited by Bd212nyc on Sat Dec 04, 2021 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “So Ordered”

Postby TenantNet » Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:30 pm

It's not a RS thing. Now it's in the Court Forum. If both sides had attorneys, the chances of vacating the order would be very slim unless there was something very unusual and prejudicial that occurred.

If you can show you just found out about the RS reduction order, you might be in a better position, but you would have to check with an attorney to get a realistic assessment as to your chances. Did the LL or his attorney do anything to conceal it from you? Were you a tenant at the time, or did you move in later? I think they are required to disclose the order to new tenants (but not certain about that).

Is the reduction order still in effect? If so, you can probably reduce your rent to the level indicated on the order. You might also be able to file an overcharge, but probably only for the last six years (the current limit).

I'd do more research to see if you have a case to vacate the order, and if not, what you can do now.
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Re: “So Ordered”

Postby Bd212nyc » Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:40 pm

Im a RS tenant in this same apt since early 90’s.
Yes to reduction order.
I hv both an email from Landlord attny where he informs me theres a rent reduction order in effect but that Landlord will get that removed promptly. I didnt know there was this reduction order! Why did LLs attny tell me- this? A slip of the tongue? Then, 2 weeks ago duriing visit to dhcr, caseworker verified that reduction still in effect.
“So Ordered” A settlement agreement between zLL and I( w our attnys) signed this agreement. Except i just saw a copy of this settlement agreement that LLs attny sent me in response to repair issues ive brought up now, that are from way back then that still exist, And the settlement agreement mentions that i agree these reapairs have been made, etc…..
But its not signed by a judge or anyone other than me, Landlord and our attnys.

What is the signifigance of a lack of the judges signiture anywhere on this settlement agreement.??? Does it mean its not effective, not enforceable?? I hope that bc it lacks judges signature that its unenforceable. That would be really great for me. Thank you.
Last edited by Bd212nyc on Sat Dec 04, 2021 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “So Ordered”

Postby TenantNet » Sun Jul 25, 2021 8:36 am

I can't really give you a guess as I don't know the details or timeline of everything. Each little piece of information begs more questions. In general, I would say 25-30 years is a very long time to seek to vacate a stip. And you say you had a lawyer, that make what was unlikely to near impossible. I would think you would have to show a clear intent of the LLs part to hide the facts, and I think that will be hard to do.

Here's my thought ... if the rent reduction is still in effect, you should be able to reduce your rent to the amount set by the order (i.e., the rent in effect prior to that rent that existed on the effective date of the order -- see the actual language on the order itself).

As for overcharges, the 2019 law changed the statute of limitations to six years, but that was constrained by the Regina decision back to 4 years. That might be only for cases that had been filed. Just search this forum for 'Regina.'

Now, you can't waive your RS rights, so not knowing what the stip actually says, I would think the only thing that can lift the rent reduction order is for the LL to make the repairs or restore the service in question, and then file for a restoration of rents. Only a DHCR order can lift the rent reduction.

You signed and your atty allowed you to sign a stip that the repairs had been made when in fact they had not been made? That's screwy (and might be unethical).

I would consult with a tenant attorney (a different one).
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