Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some common questions, answers, and terms related to procedures in Housing Court. The best action is to reach out for help understanding your options. The worst thing to do is ignore these notices. A good place for help is to check with HousingCourtAnswers.org or call their hotline at 212-962-4795.

What if my landlord won't make repairs or provide services? What should I do?
What is a "Notice to Cure?" What should I do?
What is a Notice of Termination? What should I do?
The landlord has demanded my rent. What should I do?
I received a "Petition-Dwelling Non payment" What should I do?
I received a Notice of Petition and Petition, what should I do?
If I receive a set of documents entitled "Petition Holdover," what should I do?


What if my landlord won't make repairs or provide services? What should I do?
A tenant or group of tenants in privately owned buildings with apartment maintenance or other housing problems should first report them to their building owner. If that fails, they may call 311 to file a complaint that may result in an HPD inspection.

If the problem persists, tenants may initiate an HP legal action in Housing Court. At court, tenants are assisted in preparing the necessary forms, requesting an inspection, and obtaining a court date. They are given instructions about how to file them.

On the Court date, the tenant and the owner each get an opportunity to present their positions with an HPD attorney present to assist. Copies of a complainant’s correspondence with the owner can be important in Housing Court. If the judge believes that violations exist in the building, he or she may order the owner to correct them within a specified period. If the owner fails to comply with the order, the tenant may return to court to seek Civil Penalties or Contempt of Court charges. Judges may penalize owners who refuse to repair violations after being ordered by the court to correct the problem.

If you want to start an HP proceeding against your building owner, go to the Clerk’s Office at the Housing Court. You do not need a lawyer to start an HP case. For more information about HP actions, visit the website of the New York State Unified Court System.

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What is a "Notice to Cure?" What should I do?
The Notice to Cure generally provides you with notice that the landlord considers certain actions to be in violation of your obligations as a tenant. If the Notice correctly describes conditions in violation of your obligations and you can fix them within the time provided, cure the condition. If not, try to get some advice from an attorney or a tenant advocacy group about your rights. The Notice to Cure is not an eviction case or a court paper.

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What is a Notice of Termination? What should I do?
If you received a Notice of Termination or Notice to Quit, it is also not a court document. These notices notify the tenant that the tenancy is terminated and that, if the tenant does not give up the apartment and move out, the landlord will go to court to seek the tenant's eviction. The length of the notice depends upon the nature of your tenancy (rent stabilized, rent controlled, unregulated, weekly, or monthly) and/or the terms of your lease. At the end of the period, if you have not moved, the landlord may not simply put you out of your apartment. The landlord must start an eviction proceeding and obtain a warrant of eviction from the Court before you can be evicted.

Thus, if you receive a Notice of Termination and do not move out of your apartment by the end of the notice period, you should receive a Notice of Petition and Petition seeking an order evicting you from your apartment (Holdover Proceeding). DO NOT IGNORE THESE PAPERS. As soon as you receive those papers, consult with an attorney or go to Housing Court on the date that the Notice of Petition advises you to appear.

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The landlord has demanded my rent. What should I do?
The landlord will give you a written notice demanding the tenant to pay the rent owed by a certain date. If the money is not paid by the date in the notice, the landlord will begin a court action. You should pay the rent. You should visit with a NYC Human Resources Administration representative at Housing Court to see if you are eligible for emergency assistance.

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I received a "Petition-Dwelling Non payment" What should I do?
The “Petition-Dwelling Non payment” demands that you appear in court to answer the nonpayment petition within five days. When the tenant goes to the court, he/she will get a court date from the Clerk’s Office. The Clerk will then ask the tenant if he/she wishes to file an answer in writing. The tenant’s answer should include all defenses and counterclaims that may apply to their case. If the tenant fails to answer the petition, the tenant is at risk of being evicted.

If you do not have the money, you may want to visit a NYC Human Resources Administration representative at Housing Court to see if you are eligible for emergency assistance. To find the location of the appropriate Job Center, where you may make an application for emergency assistance, you can call the HRA information line (877) 472-8411.

If you are withholding rent because your apartment needs repairs, make sure that you save the money for the rent and keep it in a safe place, such as a bank account. However, it is not advisable to withhold rent without first getting legal assistance.

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I received a Notice of Petition and Petition, what should I do?
Do not ignore it. A Notice of Petition and Petition are court papers for an eviction case. If you do not respond to the papers, you can be evicted from your apartment. You should seek the advice of an attorney or tenant advocacy group and you should appear in court on the date indicated.

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If I receive a set of documents entitled "Petition Holdover," what should I do?
You must go to court on the date stated in the Petition. This will be the tenant’s first court date (called a Holdover Proceeding). It is extremelyimportant that you go to court on that date because if you miss it, the landlord may be able to get a default judgment of eviction.

The defenses to a holdover petition are complicated and a tenant should be sure to talk to their attorney and/or the Resource Center in the Housing Court before the court date.

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