LIEB BLOG

Legal Media Analysts

Friday, December 17, 2021

Self-Represented Tenants Entering into Stipulations of Settlement Get More Protection

Additional protections in Housing Court are being enforced in order to aid self-represented parties. When opposing parties come to an agreement during a proceeding, they sign a Stipulation of Settlement ("Stipulation"), which is a binding agreement, so it is the judge's responsibility to ensure that the parties understand the Stipulation. 


Bill A3320A relates to stipulations in summary proceedings to recover possession of real property. Moving forward, a stipulation will not be approved by the court unless the court first verifies the following:

  • All parties have been accurately and appropriately named;
  • The authority of the signatory if a named party is not present;
  • The unrepresented party understands he may try the case if he does not agree with the stipulation;
  • An opposing party's attorney did not inappropriately give advice to the unrepresented party;
  • Whether or not the unrepresented party agrees or contests any allegations in the petition or predicate notices;
  • The unrepresented party understands the claims and defenses available to him and what his options may be in light of the claims and defenses, and, that the claims and defenses are adequately addressed in the stipulation;
  • The unrepresented party agrees to the terms in the stipulation;
  • The unrepresented party understands the consequences of either party's non-compliance with the stipulation; and
  • An appropriate rent breakdown is included, if applicable. 

An allocution is the process in which the judge determines if the parties understand the terms of the Stipulation. The amended Bill offers judges a checklist, if you will, that will allow them to efficiently ensure unrepresented parties understand the agreement that they have entered into.

Landlord's attorneys should become well versed in the allocution so that they can ensure that the Court will approve their client's settlements and resolve disputes.  












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