LIEB BLOG

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Showing posts with label housing court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label housing court. Show all posts

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.  












Friday, May 15, 2020

Victim of Domestic Violence experiencing PTSD deemed Disabled and entitled to Reasonable Accommodation under ADA


In a recent New York City Civil Court decision, the Court held that disability due to domestic violence can entitle a tenant to a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Specifically, in Schuhab HDFC v. Delacruz (Case Number: 64402/17), the court held that the tenant’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from domestic violence should entitle her to a probationary order as reasonable accommodation. Under the Fair Housing Act, a landlord is required to provide a handicapped tenant with a reasonable accommodation for the tenant to keep the apartment (42 U.S.C.3605(f(3)(B)). In this case, such reasonable accommodation was in the form of a probationary stay – instead of the tenant getting evicted right away, she was allowed to stay subject to several conditions to prevent any adverse effect to other tenants and guests.

As background, the case was commenced as a holdover landlord-tenant eviction proceeding by Schuab HDFC against the tenant on the grounds that the tenant used or permitted the premises to be used for the distribution and/or sale of controlled substances. The tenant’s defense was that she neither knew of or acquiesced to the illegal activity. She also requested the court grant her a reasonable accommodation in the form of a probationary stay in the premises as a result of her disability from being a victim of domestic violence.

The Court’s decision narrates and incudes the instances of domestic violence that the tenant suffered from her former partner, the resulting PTSD, and the circumstances which led to her partner’s use of the premises for drug activity as testified by the tenant. While considering the tenant’s testimony and her psychiatrist’s input, the Court agreed in finding that the tenant suffers from PTSD and such disability should entitle her to a probationary stay under the Fair Housing Act.

Consequently, the Court granted the landlord a final judgment of possession against the tenant and other occupants, but also granted the probationary stay in the tenant’s favor as a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. The tenant is required to exclude her former partner from the premises, avoid and preclude others from participating in drug-related activity in the premises for a period of two (2) years. In the event of a breach, Petitioner may move for the issuance of a judgment of possession and warrant of eviction.

Real estate professionals should be aware of this decision in order to ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Act and limit exposure to claims of discrimination for refusing to provide reasonable accommodations.





Friday, March 13, 2020

NYC Housing Court on Eviction Moratorium Due to Coronavirus

Effective March 13, 2020, the New York City Housing Courts are on a one-week moratorium on evictions in New York City, subject to further extension upon review. Further, New York City Housing Court is also directed to decline to issue new eviction warrants when a party has not appeared in court, until further notice.

This moratorium is imposed through a memorandum on the coronavirus from the Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York Unified Court System. You can read the memorandum here.