How to ask the Court to order your landlord to make repairs.
You've been asking your super and landlord to make repairs with no luck. You've sent your landlord at least 1 letter with no response. You've complained to the proper authority but still your landlord won't make the reapirs. You're only option left is to bring your landlord to Housing Court to force him/her to make the repairs. Don't worry, it's not as difficult as it seems! Just follow these steps:
Gather your proof at home before you go to the Court.To make the process easy when you get to Court, make sure you have everything you need before you leave your house. This includes:
- The name and address of your landlord and any managing agent.
- A list of dates you told the super or landlord about the problem and asked that it be repaired.
- Copies of all letters you sent to the landlord. If you did not yet send the landlord a letter, first send the letter to the landlord.
- Photos showing the conditions that you want repaired. Not all conditions can be shown in a photo, but if it can, (broken windows, falling ceiling, peeling paint, etc.) photos will help you a lot. Videos may also help at trial but not when you're filing the petition.
- A written list of ALL conditions both in your apartment or around the building that need to be repaired. As long as you're going to file the petition you might as well include everything.
Go to the Clerk at the Housing Court.Once you have all of your documents ready, got to the Housing Part Clerk at Window 7, in the lobby of 1118 Grand Concourse, Bronx, N.Y. 10456. If you have any questions before going, you can call them at (718) 466-3014.
Filling out the Court papers.
Explain to the Clerk at Window 7 that you want to file a "petition" for repairs. If the repairs are an emergency, make sure you tell the clerk. For emergency repairs the clerk can schedule a hearing in as little as 1 week.
The Clerk will give you 3 papers to fill out, including:
- Order to Show Cause: This in an Order that the judge will sign requiring your landlord to appear in court on a specific date to explain why he/she should not be ordered to make the repairs.
- Petition: The Petition is your sworn statement detailing the conditions and repairs that are necessary. Make sure to list ALL conditions and necessary repairs. The clerk will notarize the Petition for you. Make sure you have a government-issued picture ID with you.
- Request for Inspection: You do not have to request an inspection, but you should certainly think about it. If you need the repairs done on an emergency basis or your photos or other documents (such as copies of violations) make the condition clear, you may not want to first have an inspection. On the other hand an inspection and possible violations by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development will help you to prove the need for the repairs. The only downside to the inspection is that it will take longer to have the hearing. You can fill in the Request for Inspection online, print it out and bring it with you to court. Make sure to list ALL conditions and necessary repairs on this form as well. If you request an inspection, the clerk will give you a date for an inspection while you are there.
Return the completed paper to the Clerk at Window 7.
When you bring the completed papers back to the clerk at Window 7 he/she will notarize your Petition and direct you to the Cashier at Window 8 to pay the Index Fee of $45.00. The fee can only be paid with cash, certified or bank check or money order. They will not accept a personal check.
Let the Clerk know if you can not afford to pay the $45.00 and ask for a motion for permission to proceed as a poor person. If that motion is granted, you will not be required to pay for the Index Number or most other Court fees.
After you have paid for the Index Number the clerk will submit your papers to the Judge for his or her signature. You must wait to get the signed Order to Show Cause that day. The clerk may tell you to come back the next day to get the signed Order.
Serve the Order to Show Cause and Verified Petition.
In the Order to Show Cause, the Judge will say how the papers must be served on your landlord. Normally they have to be handed to your landlord and/or managing agent in person. Check the Order to Show Cause to see if it specifically says that you can serve the papers by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested instead of by handing it to the landlord.
A second copy of the Order to Show Cause and Verified Petition must be served by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested to:
Housing Litigation Bureau
100 Gold Street
New York, NY 10038
Complete your Affidavits of Service.You must fill out an Affidavit of Service for each person or entity (landlord, agent, DHPD) you serve. You can get the proper form from the Housing Court's forms Website. If you have served by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, make sure that the Affidavits state that the mail was certified and that you requested a return receipt and attach copies of both the certified mail form and the Return Receipt (Green card). You can file the Affidavits of Service anytime before the hearing date or bring them with you to the hearing. They will need to be notarized.
Go to Court on the date of your hearing.
Make sure you show up early for your Court hearing. Bring the original Affidavits of Service if you haven't already filed them with the Court. Bring a copy of your Order to Show Cause and Petition as well as any proof you have, such as photographs and videos.