In an effort to assist low-income tenants facing eviction, the New York City Council recently approved the “Right to Counsel in Housing Court” legislation. Essentially, low-income tenants facing eviction in Housing Court would be assigned legal counsel to properly represent them against landlords and management companies who, more often than not, are represented by seasoned housing court attorneys.
This Bill essentially levels the playing field for tenants who do not understand the complexities of housing court procedures and who, more often than not, waive rights and defenses and counter-claims they may be entitled to in order to win cases and stop evictions, especially under rent-stabilization. Irregularities and defects in petitions, affidavits of service and warrant applications have a greater chance of being identified and addressed by assigned counsel under this new Bill.
So, what does this mean for landlords and management companies? It means that landlord/tenant cases will be litigated similar to other cases in our court system. It means that the litigation process will actually be based on law and procedure, rather than, in many cases, on intimidation and coercion.
 Int. Bill # 214B