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Post HP Actions

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Post HP Actions

Postby vegastar » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:56 am

I am a rent-stabilized SRO tenant in Manhattan. After multiple requests for repairs/renovations and getting no response I filed an HP action. The LL did not show up in court. I went before the judge with an arsenal of photos from she recognized 9 housing violations in addition to the 3 that the inspector identified. 2 were B violations (30 days), the rest were A violations (90 days). The B's pertained to mice and a window in need of caulking/repairing (court was in January). My LL blithely ignored everything. At the end of the 90 days he presented me with 3 pages of a 'license' agreement that included me vacating the room completely during repairs. Nice - I have no place for moving all of my stuff. They had 90 days to to the work section by section. I sought out a lawyer but that had little effect. The LL is not replying to him either.
Mice had been scurrying about my place daily. This was supposed to be remedied during the 3rd week of Feb. During the 3rd week of June a mouse climbed on one of my legs which set off a hysteria in me. Finally, they sent an exterminator. He located a 1/2 inch gap, 30 inches in length, between the wall and floor. My room had been an open portal for rodents!
At any rate, I need to move forward with an order to show cause for contempt ... and a breach of the warranty of habitability. My question is about strategy. Which one first? Set both of them in motion at the same time? How does it work best?
By the way I posted here before. I had a complete computer crash, lost all my emails. This is a new account. Thanks! vega
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby TenantNet » Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:26 am

Would this be on 30th St? If so, you should be using the old account, not create a new account.

We see this kind of LL tactic often. They try to get you out on a BS agreement then you can't get back in. First, there's no need to vacate over the repairs you described.

I would go back to the HP court seeking a contempt order from the HP judge. Have you sought out HPD Emergency Repairs as well? Have you sought help from Legal Services or Legal Aid? You can also withhold rent with a Warranty of habitability defense.
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby vegastar » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:26 pm

Thank you for your quick reply. Yes, the 30th. I had a total computer crash including my emails but the mail boxes are still intact. I had to get a new computer. Unfortunately, I had not saved the password for here. Another unfortunate has been Legal Aid. The person who has been helping me was into negotiating, a very, very slow process with weeks going by without a LL reply. I feel I have to take matters in my own hand. My psychiatrist has been concerned. He had to prescribe an additional anti-depressant to help me cope and get to sleep. I am making a doctor's appointment to see about my back. The mattress is terrible lop-sided and it's taking it's toll. --I have to look that up and see how that works with the HPD emergency repairs. I have dust balls hanging from the cracks between the ceiling tiles. It's the area where I practice hygiene and do some cooking. An emergency repair would be great. I have been paying 1/2 the rent. After the mouse in my bed/on my leg, the deteriorating mattress, the ceiling tiles I would like to reduce rent by another 50%, ideally go to -0-. Can I do the -0- at this point? How does that work with the WoH> Do I have to file something or does it kick in when the LL files non-payment? Many thanks!
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:46 pm

Of course you can withhold all rent (unless it violates some court order or stipulation I don't know about). But understand there are likely to be consequences of a court case. No matter what make sure you hold the money in escrow - I would purchase a money order so you can't go out and spend it. I've been told to use the USPS mail orders as they don't expire or have penalties like other mail order varieties.

Don't put your personal health info on a public internet forum.

If your atty is dragging his/her feet, then speak up.
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby vegastar » Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:42 pm

Thank you! I'll cut the rent by another half. Monday I'm going to the housing court to file an order to show cause /contempt of court. As I am going thru my notificatons to my landlords re: repairs, mice etc., I see that I alerted the LL as early as Feb 2015 about mice and repairs. Since Oct/Nov we've had a new landlord against whom I filed the HP Action. In general, in whatever info I need whether its contempt/ WoH is it ok to include both landlords? Do they simply become one as in 'hotel managemen't. As for negotations, there has been 1 (!!!) reply with a useless factor in 3 months!!!
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby TenantNet » Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:59 pm

When I go to Housing Court I have originals of the M.O. receipts plus copies of the M.O.'s, plus copies of the Certificate of Mailings to the LL. I have a whole stack. Make sure that M.O.'s or checks are "earmarked" in the memo field for "Rent for August 2016 only. No other months."

BTW, I'm sending you a private message.
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Re: Post HP Actions/restore vs. contempt

Postby vegastar » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:19 am

When I filed for the HP Action I was told to come back and file for 'contempt of court' if the landlord does not repair. I went today and the form they gave me is called 'Affidavit for support of an Order to Show Cause to Restore for Compliance and Assessment of Civil Penalties'. I asked about 'contempt'. The clerk said it's the same thing. Seems to me this should be a straight forward affair. I present once again pictures of the violations, dates they were supposed to be removed, and???? - One issue is: since my initial court date 2 more violations have arisen. The clerk said I would have to file another HP action - oh no! He said to talk to the judge about it. Am I overlooking something with this restore for compliance??
Did not receive private -
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby TenantNet » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:23 am

BTW, on my previous post, that's only when the LL seeks rent, not on a HP action where the only question is the repairs.

I don't have a lot of experience with HP actions, but the form you received sounds like just a fancy way of saying contempt. You start by having a judge sign an OSC, and that's backed up with an affidavit. It gets served on the LL (if they court wants you to serve it, they will tell you how to serve it), then the LL must "show cause" at a hearing why they should not be penalized.

Yes, talk to the judge but you might have to file a new HP case.
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby vegastar » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:21 pm

Another LL No Show. This time: the restore to compliance & fee assessment.
A judgment for $4,780 against the LL. This might be an 'incentive' for the LL to do repairs, so I am told. Should I rejoice? My question is: how effective are these judgments? What is the track record on getting them collected? To what extent are they 'incentives' to make repairs. For the life me I don't get the psychology of all of this ..
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Re: Post HP Actions/ contempt/ punish

Postby vegastar » Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:20 am

Still no repairs after the otc to restore compliance. Next level: otc to punish for contempt. This will be a hearing on 'the issue of non-compliance'. My biggest concern here is how to prepare, what to bring. The form says: the order/stipulation was not complied with in that ... How specific do I need to get: list the violations only, bring pictures? Also, my HP hearing was Jan 12 including a violation for rodents. However, the problem and requests to eliminate them, goes back to Spring of last year ... can it be included? What line of attack can I expect from the LL's attorney's? Thank You in Advance ..
[Well then, what comes after *that*???]
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby TenantNet » Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:25 am

Isn't your MFY attorney doing anything in all this?
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby vegastar » Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:43 am

No. He is not doing any of this. I had contact with him 2x. He had waited 3 weeks, then 4 weeks for a reply from the hotel manager. I have gone thru the 1. otc for non-compliance 2. otc to restore compliance. Next week 10/20 will be the hearing on otc to punish for contempt. I've seen a pro se attorney once. I have questions about the format of these hearing, can I go back to March 15 when I started my requests for repair, or only Jan 12, 2016 when the court-order was issued. How long are these hearings? Some cases I read spread over several days. Mine should not require that much. Discovery: I think the LL needs to request this from the judge. With the license agreement with its ridiculous clauses I need some assistance. The LL will probably argue that I would not agree to it and therefore they could not make repairs. However, I have encouraged them all along to start with repairs. Not necessary to vacate. And, they did not offer storage. Don't know if they have to do that when they want you to relocate. With this license agreement I probably need help. I can make the arguments but don't know if cases can be cited ... Between now and Wed I will fully immerse myself, take notes, see the the pro se attorney. I will have my lease with me. I presume I can tell/show the judge that the LL is violating it on all counts corresponding to my complaint. I also read the rules of evidence which was helpful. So, that's where I'm at.
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby TenantNet » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:50 am

Re the MFY attorney, I understand that they are over-worked and there aren't enough attorneys to handle the caseload, but the city is supplying additional funding for legal services for tenants who need it. I would go to MFY and demand his assistance, and if not, then tell MFY you need another attorney who is able to handle the case. The Pro Se attorney can only help you so much. See http://www.mfy.org/about/staff/ and try to speak to one of the Supervising Attorneys.

See http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dhs/prevention ... ssues.page
http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hra/download ... erList.pdf
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Re: Post HP Actions

Postby vegastar » Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:09 pm

I filed and otc to punish for contempt. Once again the LL was a no show. The judge set one more date for them to reply/appear (next week). After that, if the LL does not show, there will be an inquest. I gather that may not be the end of it. I talked to my mfy lawyer. He had not heard from my LL either. It's been weeks now! Thank goodness I did not hire a lawyer for pay. I would be in bankruptcy court as well. I'm reading all I can. There is some info on the nycourts website about inquests with links to additional information re: pro se representation.
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Re: Post HP Actions/ Post-Inquest

Postby vegastar » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:36 pm

The LL was a No-Show again - this time for two punish for contempt hearings. After the 2nd No-Show I promptly had an inquest before the judge. Result: The LL is in civil contempt and I was awarded $2k in penalties. Nice. The DHPD lawyer suggested to restore my case immediately if the repairs are not completed. Ok - what now? What is the trajectory here? I have been withholding rent. The LL sent me a reminder. That was in August. Letters were sent to all tenants who have negative balances. The LL still has not taken any more actions on rent payments. A tenant tells me the LL cannot collect because he is registered with HPD .. Lastly, I would like to add a document to my inquest testimony. Would that be possible?
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