Housing Litigation Division
- Heat and Hot Water Cases: HLD seeks orders directing that heat and/or hot water be provided and maintained. Fines may also be assessed and, if the owner is particularly recalcitrant, contempt sanctions including incarceration may be imposed. HPD also offers landlords with first-time heat and hot water violations the opportunity to attend classroom training in lieu of paying a fine.
- Comprehensive Cases: HLD seeks the correction of all outstanding violations in a building, compliance with Vacate Orders/Orders to Repair and with the Alternative Enforcement Program’s Orders to Correct and/or civil penalties for owners' failure to timely certify correction of violations; for false certification of correction of violations; and/or for failure to file a Multiple Dwelling Registration.
- Lead Unit Cases: HLD seeks access warrants based upon violations issued pursuant to Local Law 1 of 2004 by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene or HPD, where owners have denied access to HPD inspectors to inspect for the presence of lead paint in buildings or to contractors and crews sent by HPD's Emergency Service Bureau to correct overdue lead paint hazard violations. In addition, HLD commences false certification cases, where the owners have falsely certified correction of lead paint violations. HLD also brings some comprehensive cases seeking correction of all violations in a building related to lead paint.
- ACCESS CASES: HLD seeks a court order for access or compliance with outstanding violations in situations where the owner or its agent has denied HPD or its contractors access to a building to inspect and/or make repairs.
- 7A Cases: HLD initiates 7A cases seeking the appointment of an administrator to manage a building pursuant to Article 7A of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law, which provides that management control of a building may be removed from an owner if a building's condition constitutes a danger to life, health and safety.
- Certification of No Harassment: Under local law, the owner of a single room occupancy multiple dwelling must obtain a "Certification of No Harassment" from HPD before applying to DOB for a permit to demolish or reconfigure the building. This process is intended to ensure that the owner did not further its proposed demolition or construction project by harassing tenants into leaving. HLD investigates to determine whether harassment occurred during the statutory review period. If HPD determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that harassment occurred, HLD usually presents the City's case to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). A finding of harassment prevents the owner from obtaining a demolition or alteration permit for three years. HPD also performs this function for the Special Clinton Zoning District, which is subject to a similar provision (though not limited to SROs) under the Zoning Resolution. To obtain an application for either application, please see Forms for Owners.
- Judgment Enforcement: HLD collects money judgments from owners. In many cases, collection entails locating responsible individuals/companies and taking various steps, such as seizure of accounts and property, to enforce money judgments.
HLD PHONE NUMBER: (212) 863-8200
Tenants Initiate Cases in Housing Court
A tenant can bring a case against a building owner in Housing Court to get an order to correct the conditions. This case is called a HP Action. HP actions are lawsuits brought by tenants or groups of tenants against building owners to force them to make repairs and provide essential services, like heat and hot water. A building owner's failure to make a repair or provide an important service may be a violation of the New York City Housing Maintenance Code or the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. In an HP action, a judge can order the building owner to correct the violations. 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.
Housing Court Answers.org (City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court)