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You Are Here: Housing
Get to court early! Leave plenty of time to get through security!
Generally, court starts at 9:30 AM SHARP.  You should get there no later than 9:00 AM to get through the metal detectors and find the courtroom.   On your first court date, you must be in the courtroom that you were told to go to by the Clerk (in a nonpayment case) OR that was indicated in the Notice of Petition (in a holdover case).  The first courtroom you go to is usually called a Resolution Part, a courtroom where the landlord and tenant have a chance to discuss and try to settle the case.
Here are a few things to do when you go before the judge:

What Should You Do When You Go to the Resolution Part?  (or any courtroom you are sent to)
(Click here to view a sample demand for rent.)

  • Find your name on the calendar, which is a list of the cases that will be heard that day.  The calendar is usually posted in the hallway outside the courtroom.  Write down the calendar number of your case.

  • Go inside the courtroom and tell the court clerk that you are the tenant and the calendar number of your case.  Ask the court clerk if you also have to check or circle your name.

  • Be seated in the courtroom or stay near the courtroom so you can hear when your case is called.  Silence is required in the courtroom.

  • You are free to try to settle the case, BUT you do not have to speak with the other side without the Judge or the court attorney being present.

  • If you and your landlord want to try to mediate your case (have a mediator help you and your landlord settle the case), you can ask that the case be sent to a Housing Court mediator. (Mediation is not available in all boroughs.)  If you can reach a settlement, it will be written in a document called a "Stipulation of Settlement." (See "What About Settlements and Stipulations?")  A Judge will always review the Stipulation of Settlement after mediation.

  • If you want to speak with the Judge, you should tell the court clerk you are ready to see the Judge now.   If you don't, you might have to wait longer than necessary.

  • If you want to know more, click here (PDF Reader required).

What Should You Do When Your Case Is Called?

  • Each case will be called by the Judge or the court attorney.   When your case is called, the landlord and tenant will meet with the Judge or court attorney.

  • Your answer should be in the court file.  Ask the Judge or court attorney to look at your answer so he or she will know more about what to tell the court.  You can ask the Judge to add other defenses to your answer.

  • If your apartment needs repairs and you did not ask for an inspection when you answered the petition, you can ask for an inspection.

  • If you are not ready to discuss your case or if you need more time, you can ask for an adjournment, to come back on a later date.

  • If you are not able to settle your case, the Judge or the court attorney might be able to help you and your landlord reach an agreement.

  • If you are able to settle your case with your landlord, a Stipulation of Settlement will be written. (See "What About Settlements and Stipulations?")   The Judge should explain what is in the Stipulation and ask you if you have any questions about the Stipulation.  Be sure to ask questions if you do not understand anything or if you disagree with anything.  

What If the Case Is Not Settled?

  • The case will be sent to a different courtroom, called a "Trial Part," for a trial on that day or be scheduled for trial on another day.   The landlord will have to prove his or her case and you will have to prove your defenses or claims. (See "What Happens if I Go to Trial?")

  • If you feel that you need a lawyer at this point, you might ask that this case be adjourned so you can get an attorney.  Click here for help finding an attorney

What If the Case Is Adjourned or Scheduled for Trial on Another Date?

  • Be sure to come back to Court on that date and go to the courtroom you were told to go to by the Court.  If you do not return on the court date, the landlord will automatically win, and you could be evicted.  Follow the same instructions given above about checking your name on the calendar and checking in with the court clerk.

  • If the case has been adjourned, be sure that you come back to Court with all of your evidence and witnesses. (See "What Happens if I Go to Trial?")

  • If you get any papers from the landlord or from the Court that tell you to come back to Court on a different date, DO NOT IGNORE THEM

  • Read any papers that you receive because you may have to respond to them before you go back to court or when you go back to court.

  • If you have any questions about the papers or about what will happen when you go back to Court, you can speak to an attorney in the Landlord-Tenant Clerk's Office who is called a "pro se attorney."