Housing Court Blocks Tenants From Suing their Landlords

Dear friends,

Since April 2020, more than 3,000 New York City residents have filed emergency lawsuits against their landlords through our Emergency HP Action (“EHPA”) Tool to stop landlord harassment and receive essential repairs.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the NYC Court system worked closely with JustFix to create a user-friendly tool for use by any New York City renter with an Internet connection. After suing their landlords through JustFix’s tool, many users also received access to free tenant attorneys.

In late May 2021, JustFix learned that the Court will reinstate several requirements to the HP filing process. These changes will make it impossible to use our tool in its current form.

These requirements include:

  1. You will now need to print your legal papers and sign the “petition” (i.e. lawsuit) in the presence of a notary. You must then submit notarized documents to the Court Clerk;
  2. You will now need to pay a $45.00 filing fee. The only ways to pay are in-person or to file through the Court System’s e-filing system called NYSCEF. If you are low-income and cannot pay the $45.00 fee, you may print a Poor Person Waiver and sign it in the presence of a notary to have the fee waived.

As of today, New York City residents have far fewer options for filing cases:

  1. Those able to navigate the e-filing system, can attempt to file online. You will need access to a printer and a notary.
  2. You can try to visit the courthouse in your borough. We suggest calling ahead to see if you need an appointment as the Courts informed us that Housing Court is not fully open to the general public and tenants may be turned away at the door. A list of addresses and numbers for the Housing Courts can be found here. For your convenience, the Court’s addresses and phone numbers can be found below.
  3. You can call 311 and ask to speak to a free tenant lawyer about harassment, bad conditions, or other housing problems. A lawyer may be able to assist you with your filing.

Housing Court Information:

Kings County (Brooklyn)
347–404–9201
141 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Queens County
718–262–7145
89–17 Sutphin Boulevard, Jamaica, New York 11435

Bronx County
718–466–3000
1118 Grand Concourse Bronx, NY 10456

Richmond County (Staten Island)
718–675–8452
927 Castleton Avenue Staten Island, New York 10310

These abrupt changes make our tool inoperable. Until the courthouse doors open to the public, it will be extremely difficult for tenants to vindicate their rights to a safe habitable apartment through the NYC court system. Despite this setback, JustFix will continue to work to ensure that every New Yorker has equal access to justice.

Please check our website regularly for updates. To receive more updates and information, subscribe to our newsletter.

Sincerely,

The JustFix Team

JustFix.nyc co-designs & builds tools for tenants, organizers, and legal advocates fighting displacement. #TenantPower #EvictionFreeNYC #WhoOwnsWhat

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