Chief Judge Janet DiFiore has said that if people involved in a case don’t feel comfortable attending court in person, they can request a virtual trial. Hand-sanitizer dispensers and acrylic barriers have also been installed in the building’s ceremonial courtroom, where in-person appearances are taking place. Tenants who don’t have access to video chat technology are able to come to the court buildings to use Skype, but otherwise have few options unless a lawyer can arrange video conferencing for them. While the Safe Tenant Harbor Act prevents people from getting kicked to the curb, it does not encourage people to not pay rent. _____ June 12, 2020 The Honorable Judge Janet DiFiore Chief Judge Court of Appeals of the State of New York 20 Eagle Street Albany, NY 12247 Dear Chief Judge DiFiore, We are writing to express our concern that reopening New York City Housing Court to in-person proceedings prematurely could pose a significant public health risk to litigants, attorneys, and court personnel, and a particular … Thomas Quinones Hon. “This is really, really personal for me because when I was going through my eviction process in Riverdale, right to counsel did not exist and I wound up in a shelter because I couldn’t fight by myself,” Mitchell said. The two unions represent 2,000 civil and criminal lawyers at Legal Aid, Mobilization for Justice, Legal Services NYC, Bronx Defenders and several other nonprofit legal organizations. As housing court begins to reopen, confusion reigns over whether certain evictions can proceed. Under New York City law, you must inform NYCHA whether a child 5 years or younger lives in and/or routinely spends 10 or more hours each week in your apartment. The official home page of the New York State Unified Court System. Read the latest edition of the Commercial Observer online! Court proceedings remain open to the public, but defendants, lawyers and judges will not be present in the courthouse. The Office of Court Administration has planned a Saturday “walk-through” of the Downtown Brooklyn building where civil and housing courts operate before it reopens. The courts opened Monday. NYCHA’s safeguard against the anticipated spike in evictions is the rent hardship program, which requires public-housing tenants to certify a Covid-19-related loss of income, said Sasha Wijeyeratne, executive director of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities. Although the suit is primarily concerned with criminal court, it would also affect cases in the civil and housing courts. New York City tenant attorneys say the city's civil and housing courts are not ready to safely reopen, as court staff return to work across the city Wednesday morning. I discovered my interest, which has now grown into a passion, for real estate during my first editorial job after college. What we can assist you with: In July, the share of renters who couldn’t pay declined to 17 percent, CHIP’s latest survey found. The videoconference will not be viewable by the public. New York Courts Re-Open This week For In-Person Hearings. According to a CASA ranking, New York City’s … “How do you know someone doesn’t have notes that they’re reading off of, that someone isn’t feeding them answers?” he asked. Kings County Housing Court is also scheduled to begin today. It is imperative that any reopening plan account for the pain and wealth disparity our housing policies—among other systems—have inflicted upon these communities. “I don’t want to see anyone go through what I went through.”. New York Housing Courts Reopen to Confusion and Protests. But as more than 30 courts in New York City now enter phase one, well behind their counterparts in the rest of the state, there are special concerns about the city’s five housing courts. “We find ourselves …, Jared Trujillo, the president of the ALAA, told the, SoCal Industry Roundup: New Faces for the New Year. We hear family matters, personal injury claims, commercial disputes, trust and estates issues, criminal cases, and landlord-tenant cases. We didn’t know that Covid was going to come. NYC Renters Protest Housing Court Reopening Amid Coronavirus. Adriene Holder, Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Practice at The Legal Aid Society, said: “Amid the BLM demonstrations sweeping our city and nation, and the unprecedented public health crisis that is still unfolding, it is unconscionable to reopen civil and housing courts in New York City. Gothamist: As Civil Courts Reopen, Tenant Advocates Fear Coronavirus Could Spread In A Busy Housing Court. It’s really, really problematic.”. © 2021 Forbes Media LLC. Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey said the courts expect anywhere from 25,000 to 200,000 cases in the coming months. The court has been functioning and can continue to function without that.”, Other public defenders raised questions about whether the state court system had conducted a detailed health and safety assessment or upgraded the ventilation in the city court buildings, most of which are at least 50 years old. Key Highlights Moratorium on evictions in New York State expire and housing courts reopen Second eviction order in NY state that has shielded tenants affected by pandemic set to expire in late August Housing rights advocates estimate some 50,000-60,000 evictions cases could flood NYC’s housing courts plus the thousands paused in March that can now […] You have to speak from memory.”. The official home page of the New York State Unified Court System. Massachusetts Housing Courts Reopen Amid Protests. Andrew Cuomo could extend it. Cuomo's stay-at-home order caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of New York City jobs, leaving tenants without means to pay rent and fearing eviction when Housing Court reopens. “People just need more time,” said Sandra Mitchell, a tenant leader in the Bronx, during a Monday press call. Moreover, the cases OCA seeks to schedule are not urgent: The people who are forced to come to court are people already at liberty. On the issue of ventilation and making the court buildings safe, Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration (OCA), said, “As we continue our deliberate, measured and carefully monitored return to in-person appearances in all New York City Courthouses, the health and safety of our judges, non-judicial personnel, court officers, attorneys and litigants is paramount. ... are not ready to safely reopen. If you are interested in emergency notices for NY Federal Courts, please use the following links: U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit U.S. District Courts of NY: Northern | Eastern | Southern | Western. The state court system has not set reopening dates yet for non-emergency, in-person appearances at the housing courts in Manhattan, Queens or the Bronx. Mitchell said, “No one should have to suffer from being evicted because of something we didn’t know. Housing Court cases on pause. June 22, 2020. in In Other Brooklyn News. Call (212) 962-4795. While New York’s initial halt on evictions was set to expire on June 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the ban another two months. Evan Inlaw Hon. However, at least 15 percent of renters remain more than one month behind on rent. Alternatively, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks, who oversees the entire state court system, could issue a new rule allowing eviction cases to proceed, or continue to push back the deadline for restarting cases. Due to scheduled maintenance, NYC Housing Connect will be unavailable from 1/17/2021 7:00 AM to 1/17/2021 12:00 PM. Elena Goldberg Velazquez. Hours of Operation. Also, landlords can file new cases. Over the past week, advocates and judges have been preparing for the reopening of New York City’s Housing Court. So the state reopened the court for in-person appearances last week but relocated a trial to a larger courtroom nearby. EMERGENCY NOTICE 4/2/2020: Please be advised that effective April 6, 2020, because of COVID-19 density restrictions and until further notice, all court proceedings will be conducted by videoconference. HUD. Seven of the 10 red clay courts inside Manhattan’s Riverside Park reopened Monday, according to Mike McIntyre , executive director of the Riverside Clay Tennis Association, which runs the courts. 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We have done walk-throughs of all court facilities with our epidemiologist, and while the responsibility for the maintenance of the buildings rests with the City, they have installed MERV-14 air filters that are state of the art.”. Advocates have been warning of a flood of eviction filings with the end of the moratorium, which was put in place to protect renters during the pandemic and economic downturn. Albeit, on a limited scale. According to a CASA ranking, New York City’s top 20 evictors, whose portfolios have sizable shares of rent-stabilized apartments, displaced 1,650 families in 2019, most of them living in the Bronx. Karen N. Best Hon. Narrow hallways, long lines, and cramped elevators can make social distancing next to impossible in the city’s five housing courts. June 10, 2020. “If your stated goal is to clear up some of these cases, and the court is scheduling these conferences but we haven’t gotten through all of them yet … To force people back into court for trials right now, I don’t think it’s safe. The courts must ensure they are not putting tenants’ health at risk. The Office of Court Administration has planned a Saturday “walk-through” of the Downtown Brooklyn building where civil and housing courts operate before it reopens. Yet, his new executive order covers only those who qualify for unemployment benefits or can otherwise demonstrate they have suffered an adverse coronavirus impact. A 2015 report funded by the Department of Justice also determined that some video-conferencing software, by eliminating certain vocal frequencies, “removes critical emotional cues that can be used by judicial officers to determine a defendant’s remorse and character.”. “The tenant bar is effectively saying we don’t want to go to court until such time that there is 100 percent certainty that there won’t be a risk of getting coronavirus. Some people are sick. If the mayor wanted them to, he could have them look at it, and they could have them decide whether it’s safe for court.”. by Brooklyn Reader. Cuomo's stay-at-home order caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of New York City jobs, leaving tenants without means to pay rent and fearing eviction when Housing Court reopens. City Court Judges Hon. The Connecticut Judicial Branch announced Wednesday plans to reopen eight courthouses on July 20. “We find ourselves …  returning to more traditional, and admittedly less desirable, forms of compulsory dispute resolution like in-person trials of long-overdue matters.”. It might not be the landlord attorney or the landlord, it might be the tenant living in an overcrowded setting where rates of COVID transmission have been high.”. So the state reopened the court for in-person appearances last week but relocated a trial to a larger courtroom nearby. The right to counsel is especially important to Mitchell, who said she would not have been evicted from her apartment in Bronx’s Riverdale neighborhood had she received legal aid. County-level and city courts in upstate New York and the Hudson Valley are reopening this week. NYC Renters Protest Housing Court Reopening Amid Coronavirus - New York City, NY - "Housing is healthcare," organizers said . Can NYC Reopen Its Housing Courts Safely? counsel and many defendants have appeared in person. As many as a quarter of renters in New York City have not paid rent during the pandemic, according to data from the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), a landlord group. Since March, executive orders and … In late 2017, New York City established the right to counsel – or a free access to an attorney – for some low-income renters. By Rebecca Baird-Remba August 3, 2020 4:45 pm reprints. Holding proceedings over video chat also makes it difficult for low-income or elderly tenants, who may not have access to technology that enables them to participate in their own cases. According to Daily News, there has been a 220% increase in the number of shootings compared to the same time last year. On 25 June the housing courts will reopen for business. You may opt-out by. “There have been instances outside of New York where people have been evicted because they ran out of minutes on their phone, or they had a tech issue,” said Justin La Mort, a housing attorney at nonprofit Mobilization for Justice. Advertisement More precisely, don’t reopen housing courts to a flood of new nonpayment eviction cases. Some 3,000 evictions have taken place this year, before the March closure of the courts, the city’s open database shows. Overall, there were nearly 17,000 residential evictions in the city, according to NYC’s open database. A New Jersey appeals court has denied a fourth attempt to retry the case in the murder of Howard Lewis, the late heir to the Sealy Mattress Co. in Paterson, despite pleas … I discovered my interest, which has now grown into a passion, for real estate during my first editorial job after college. Brooklyn Housing Court reopened last Monday for one in-person trial—a case where a tenant is suing her landlord. Housing Court Hotline. “Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, it has been disheartening to witness the lack of serious interest or widespread participation among the bar in self-initiated out-of-court negotiation or even court-initiated virtual case conferencing,” the judge wrote. Since then, I have covered the housing industry from a variety of perspectives – from luxury residences to home buying and selling tips to market dynamics. Since then, I have covered the housing industry. Hotline Assistance. La Mort pointed out that something as simple as testifying during a trial is complicated if it’s done over the phone or video. It wasn’t our fault, so we shouldn’t be evicted because we were displaced from our jobs.”. In May, about 25% of New York City renters did not pay rent, according to a survey by the Community Housing Improvement Program. However, nonprofit tenant attorneys feel that it may not be possible to host a housing court trial fairly over video chat. one-year universal eviction ban and a right to counsel, among other demands to prevent displacements. “And when we’re evaluating these questions of risk, we have to ask who are the most vulnerable people in these cases. Judgments in Nonpayment Cases. "Right now it's critical that every New Yorker is safely housed." NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio began his daily briefing Monday by addressing the city's uptick in violence by calling for a restart to the court system. Reach out with story ideas and tips at dima93vitanova@gmail.com and follow me on Twitter at @DimaVitanova. Housing Court Answers is the first and best place to go for information about Housing Court. New York City is set to restart residential evictions later this week for renters who fail to prove a coronavirus-related financial hardship, but tenant advocates are demanding protections against widespread displacements. “Resumption of eviction proceedings compels parties to make the irreconcilable and, arguably, immoral choice between preserving either their health and safety or their due process rights and homes,” a group of 20 private practice tenant lawyers wrote in a letter last month. The branch had closed buildings and limited court … Brooklyn Housing Court on Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn is too cramped to hold trials safely during the pandemic. As outlined by Right to Counsel NYC, the demands include a year-long universal eviction moratorium, a promotion of tenants’ right to counsel during eviction proceedings, the slowdown of the latter (which currently serve as quick remedies for landlords, the organization states), accountability for property owners as well as a the prioritization of health, safety and accessibility. Housing Court remains closed and an eviction moratorium runs through Aug. 20, but attorneys say they have other ways to get rid of tenants. Civil: 914-831-6920 Criminal: 914-831-6930 Traffic: 914-831-6910 Admin: 914-831-6940 Chambers: 914-831-6980. "Right now it's critical that every New Yorker is safely housed." Nearly 2,000 tenants went through the Bronx Housing Court alone, every day. Within the City of New York, Family Court consists of such number of judges as may be provided by law. New York Supreme Court: Pending the resumption of jury trials in Supreme Court, New York County, cases that have been conferenced in the J-Med Part … Even with a prolonged eviction halt, unpaid rent is still due. New York City Housing Authority, NYCHA, was behind 722 evictions last year. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images “I feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff, and I’m just waiting for a push to send me over.” Daniella Vega has called every tenant hotline she could find, but she still doesn’t know if she’s on the cusp of being evicted. Yonkers, NY 10701. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker reopened the Massachusetts Housing Courts. Housing Courts can start accepting new eviction filings Monday as fears mount over mass evictions after Massachusetts’ moratorium expired Saturday. Some landlord lawyers dismiss their colleagues’ safety concerns about in-person trials because the courts can’t simply close indefinitely. It is people of color.”. ... NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development builds affordable housing and administers Section 8 vouchers. With Housing Courts Set To Reopen, New York City Tenants Demand Protections Against Evictions. Everyone entering the building must wear masks and have their temperature taken. Dima Williams Contributor. Brooklyn Housing Court on Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn is too cramped to hold trials safely during the pandemic. In fact, while some upstate courthouses are starting to open already, attorneys in the Brooklyn Housing Court have said they don't believe they'll reopen this year at all, as social distancing would be too difficult. In General. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. She added that the courts haven’t solved issues like making video court proceedings accessible to the public and providing interpreters for non-English speakers during remote hearings. Our research has led us to a simple conclusion about how to reopen Housing Court: Don’t. Tweet “Tenant advocates also have many outstanding questions. Now, as New York City moves through Phase 1 of reopening, we cannot lose sight of these deep-seated inequities as the Office of Court Administration (OCA) plans to reopen the housing courts. The judges of the Family Court within the City of New York are residents of the city and are appointed by the Mayor of the City of New York for terms of ten years. The state court system has not set reopening dates yet for non-emergency, in-person appearances at the housing courts in Manhattan, Queens or the Bronx. The list below sets out the courts that HMCTS expects to open. The two main public defender unions—the Legal Services Staff Association (LSSA) and Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (ALAA)—have also publicly stated that their members will not appear in court until they believe it is safe to do so. Sign-up to receive Emergency Court Notices for NY State Courts . “One of the things that’s important to highlight is that Black and brown people are over-represented in housing court eviction cases, and those are the same communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Dias. We hear family matters, personal injury claims, commercial disputes, trust and estates issues, criminal cases, and landlord-tenant cases. Reopening New York City’s housing courts is a thorny issue. The Housing Courts in NYC are open. Monday — Friday 9 am to 5 pm. We hear more than three million cases a year involving almost every type of endeavor. Granted, the NYC Housing Court technically never closed, as it has been open for virtual conferences during the pandemic. “A lot of people facing eviction are less tech savvy, and it’s a higher percentage of the elderly and of non-English speakers.”. ... argued in a statement that the state Office of Court Administration’s plan to reopen the courts “forces our clients to choose between their health and safety and their freedom, and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act in doing so. While housing courts in Brooklyn reopened at the end of July, housing courts in Queens are set to reopen on Sept. 8. Meanwhile, many lawyers on the landlord side of the business believe that their clients have waited long enough to pursue evictions and other housing court matters, and that the risk of spreading the virus can be properly mitigated with masks and social distancing. Most cases are suspended or adjourned until March 1. The debate runs up against issues of due process and raises questions about whether the archaic city and state court systems can operate properly over Zoom or Skype. Judges and court employees began returning to … There is no reason to force anyone to pile onto public transit and into courtrooms for cases that are going to be adjourned, when the same result can be achieved over a virtual hearing.”. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter . 2 . Staten Island Housing Court is set to reopen for regular trials on Aug. 10. “While it exists, it does not work,” she said. It’s not fair to owners who aren’t getting rent, it’s not fair to criminals who are being held in custody, and it’s not fair to tenants who have claims against their landlords.”, He added, “Letting me file a holdover case for a tenant whose lease has expired and who has not paid rent but not telling me when I can get to court and when the judge will hear my case is [an] open [court] in theory but not in practice. As millions of New Yorkers could face eviction in October and have held rallies demanding housing courts remain closed, there is another group of people being affected — small landlords.. With the impending reopening of housing courts in New York City, tenant advocates call for a ... [+] one-year universal eviction ban and a right to counsel, among other demands to prevent displacements. As a result, a coalition of tenant groups is calling for five updates to New York City’s housing courts. The New York Courts are gearing up to get back to business as usual. In General Judgment when Respondent Fails to Answer Judgment when Respondent Fails to Appear Judgment based on a Stipulation of Settlement Judgment after Trial Non-Military Affidavit. NY housing courts reopen | Waccabuc Real Estate “I feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff, and I’m just waiting for a push to send me over.” Daniella Vega has called every tenant hotline she could find, but she still doesn’t know if she’s on the cusp of being evicted. “We may never have the opportunity for a risk-free environment, and the denial of justice for both landlords and tenants has gone on too long, especially given the backlog of cases even before the pandemic,” said Jeffrey Goldman, a managing partner and head of the litigation department at Belkin, Burden and Goldman. Somehow, OCA still expects us to trust that they will safely reopen housing court, despite lacking any meaningful input from health experts, tenants, or tenant advocates.” Tenant advocates fear coronavirus could spread in cramped housing court. There may be a judgment … “We have had members apply and get denied because they couldn’t prove that they have lost work or because they are choosing not to go to their dangerous job as elders or people with health conditions.”. The outcome of a landlord/tenant case is either a judgment, dismissal or discontinuance. Most tenant attorneys, and even some landlord lawyers, believe that it would be unsafe to start in-person eviction trials until the pandemic is under control. ... Housing; Related Articles. For Forbes.com, I write about luxury residential real estate as well as the emerging trends in how homes are built, marketed, financed, sold and purchased. The housing courtroom, which is located inside the civil court building at 141 Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn, is so small that the trial was relocated to a bigger room in Brooklyn Supreme Court, at 320 Jay Street, where attorneys and litigants could social distance properly. 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