Housing Litigation and Advocacy

Legal Aid fights to preserve and protect the ever-dwindling supply of low-income housing for indigent New Yorkers. We are counsel to the Public Housing Residents Alliance, which advocates for tenants in New York City public housing. Many lawsuits establishing the basic rights of New York City public housing tenants were brought by Legal Aid. For example, the Escalera case established fair eviction procedures. The Wykoff Gardens case set up fair grievance procedures. The Davis case stopped racial discrimination in public housing.

We also advocate to protect the rights of Section 8 tenants living in private housing. Our Williams case set up procedures that protect Section 8 tenants from having their assistance cut off improperly. The McNeill case stops NYCHA from cutting off a tenant’s subsidy when the landlords does not make repairs to the apartment. We brought the leading case holding that Section 8 must be renewed for Rent Stabilized tenants and tenants whose landlords receive City tax credits, and are counsel in three cases arguing that landlords may not discriminate based on a tenants' status as a Section 8 voucher holder.

Our staff work with local legislators on housing issues. For example, Legal Aid was active in the fight for Local Law 79, which gives tenants in buildings that are opting out of project-based housing programs an opportunity to purchase their buildings. We are continuing in the battle to defend that law.