HPD’s Housing Litigation Division (HLD) initiates cases in Housing Court seeking court orders for the correction of conditions and civil penalties where appropriate. HLD seeks correction of heat and hot water violations, files cases seeking the restoration of gas service, and where there are many hazardous violations in a building, HLD may file a comprehensive case seeking the correction of all violations in the building and appropriate civil penalties. HLD may also seek civil penalties in cases where an owner falsely certifies the correction of violations and may seek access warrants to permit HPD to correct immediately hazardous violations when HPD has been denied access by a property owner.
In addition to seeking correction of violations, HLD may seek the enforcement of orders, such as Orders to Repair/Vacate Orders, Orders issued by the Alternative Enforcement or Orders issued by the Underlying Conditions Program. HLD also may file a case seeking the appointment of a 7A administrator if a property owner has completely failed to maintain a property and the conditions in a building are dangerous to life, health, and safety of the tenants.
If there is an open judgment on a property, property owners or their attorneys may contact the Housing Litigation Division at 212 863 5954 to discuss satisfying the judgment.
Housing Court is the forum where building owners and tenants resolve many of their legal disputes. Tenants in privately-owned buildings who have apartment maintenance problems or who have been harassed by the property owner may initiate legal action in Housing Court. This action is referred to as a Tenant Action or HP Action. When tenants go to the Housing Court, they will be assisted in preparing an Order to Show Cause and obtaining a date to return to court for the case to be heard. When the tenant files an HP Action, the tenant will be permitted to fill out an inspection request form to obtain an inspection of the conditions before the Court date.
The tenants are given instructions about how to serve the Order to Show Cause on both the owner and HPD. On the date that the case is returnable in Court, the tenant and the owner each get an opportunity to present their positions with an HPD attorney present. If the judge believes that violations exist in the building, the judge may order the owner to correct them within a specified time frame. If the owner fails to comply with the order, the tenant may return to court to seek civil penalties or contempt of court. Judges may penalize owners who refuse to repair violations after being ordered to correct them. Filing an HP case is a safer and faster way to address your housing issues and protect your rights than withholding rent, which may lead to eviction proceeding.
To better understand your rights, you should seek legal advice. For information on how to obtain legal services, review our ABC’s of Housing or contact the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants by calling 311 or visit nyc.gov/tenantprotection.