Mail Bag: Warranty of Habitability; Illegal Lockouts; Seeking an Adjournment in Housing Court

This week we tackle some common landlord tenant issues. If you have any questions, you can always contact us at 929-251-5191, email us at, or follow us on twitter at @andersonshenlaw. 


If I don't have heat or hot water, what can I do?

If you are having constant problems with warranty of habitability issues, do something about it. Examples of breaches of the warrant of habitability are as follows: 

___ Water leaks or floods 
___ No hot water 
___ No heat 
___ Problem with pipes 
___ Radiator problems (too much heat, broken, exploding, noisy) 
___ Electric (broken outlets or light fixtures, exposed or bad wiring) 
___ No electricity or only extension cords 
___ Mice/Rats/Vermin 
___ Roaches/Insects/Bugs 

If you are having these issues, file an HP Action at your local housing court. In this proceeding, the court will conduct an inspection and see if there are any violations. If so, your landlord can face fines and be forced to remediate the issue. 

To start an HP Action either contact us or visit your local housing court. 

Can my landlord lock me out of my apartment or evict me without using the courts in New York City?

No landlord may use self-help measures to forcibly evict a tenant, such as shutting off utilities, denying access to the leased premises or by threatening the tenant. If they do, he or she may be subject to damages to the tenant (sometimes up to triple the value of the property that was removed). Self help is evicting someone without court or police assistance. I would contact a lawyer or your local housing court to file an illegal lockout proceeding.

If I am in housing court, can I adjourn my case? How many times?

It depends. Each side, Petitioner (Landlord) and Respondent(Tenant) get one adjournment as a matter of right. Technically, according to RPAPL 745, an adjournment can be obtained in housing court, but not longer than ten days, UNLESS the tenant deposits all amounts demanded with the clerk of court. The typical reason for the tenant is to obtain an attorney. 

However, this rule is often not followed or honored, due to practical considerations. Because of the court's heavy docket, cases often get adjourned because they just don't have time to hear them. So, if a case is moved from the settlement part (Part A, B, C, etc) to the trial part (Part X) and your case is adjourned because there are no judges available to hear the case, an application to receive rent for said adjournment are unlikely because the adjournment was out of the tenant's hands. Even if it is the tenants fault, the adjournment without rent monies is likely.

However, if you are a tenant in part 52 (commercial part), the judge may likely order a rent deposit on a 2nd adjournment. Things are a little more serious there. 

That's all for today. Stay tuned for further posts. Follow us on twitter at @andersonshenlaw.