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Tenant Out of Town Needs to Amend Answer

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Tenant Out of Town Needs to Amend Answer

Postby Cazmia » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:51 am

Hi, we have a tenant who was served a Nonpayment Petition while out of state. Clerks allowed an answer to be filed by a neighbor, but only "General Denial" was checked off.

The Tenant's job regularly takes him out of town. He wants to file an amended answer within the 20 day time frame, but his lawyers are sleeping on it.

Can his neighbor go to the clerk and file an amended answer for him? He has his defenses, including laches, checked off and everything ready. Today is the 19th day...? He isn't here to serve in person

Does a motion have to be filed to amend an answer or can someone just go to the housing court clerk with what he wants to file, since it is within the 20 day period and sort of an emergency?
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Re: Tenant Out of Town Needs to Amend Answer

Postby TenantNet » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:59 am

If he has an attorney, and if they've put in a notice of appearance, then they ought to do it. Or he should find a new lawyer. I do not know if a neighbor can put in an amended answer, but I would doubt it as the tenant would have to sign it (and probably verify it as well). The in-person answer with checkboxes is really meant for the initial answer, and I don't think they would allow amended answers using that form.

Housing Court can be somewhat informal, so if the tenant is back when there's an appearance, he can ask the judge to amend the answer. Some might allow it.

Look, the guy has a lawyer. The judge would likely ask why they didn't do it. In that sense it's not an emergency.
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Re: Tenant Out of Town Needs to Amend Answer

Postby Cazmia » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:26 am

Thanks, that's a comfort. The neighbor will try but it's good to know that he can probably assert the laches defense beyond the 20 days.
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Re: Tenant Out of Town Needs to Amend Answer

Postby Cazmia » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:29 am

P.S. The judge has already been very understanding and commented that the tenant may sign things electronically being that he may be out of town for appearances.
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Re: Tenant Out of Town Needs to Amend Answer

Postby TenantNet » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:28 am

I didn't say he can add laches as defense at a later time; I said it would likely be up to a judge. Of course the LL attorney could throw a fit and box the judge into a corner.

BTW, laches doesn't get the tenant off the hook; it just means that the LL would be forced to bring a case in Civil Court, not housing court. And ... ,civil court is more formal and might allow discovery as-of-right. In other words, be careful what you wish for.

I don't know how the electronic signing thing works. Do you have any info sheets or URLs that describe that?
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