Landlord & Tenant Court

**COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 and the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021**

Effective December 28, 2020, the Covid-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 provided for a temporary stay of most residential landlord tenant proceedings until February 26, 2021. Most eviction proceedings for which a Hardship Declaration has been filed are further stayed until August 31, 2021.  For more information, place the following link in your web browser (https://www.nycourts.gov/covid-eefpa.shtml).

The COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021 provided similar relief for small businesses effective March 9, 2021. Most eviction proceedings for which a Hardship Declaration has been filed are further stayed until August 31, 2021. For more information about the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021, place the following link in your web browser (http://www.nycourts.gov/eposba/).

Note, that for the stay to apply, the tenant - residential and business - must complete the COVID-19 Hardship Declaration Form and submit same to the landlord and/or, if a case is already pending, to the court.


** Tenant Safe Harbor Act** (passed June 30, 2020)

In a non-payment proceeding (residential property only) involving unpaid rent from March 7, 2020 through present, and continuing until halted by law or executive order (the Covid-19 Period), only a money judgment may be awarded against the tenant (no warrant of eviction) where the tenant establishes suffering financial consequences due to Covid-19 during the Covid-19 Period.

 

All Landlord & Tenant Court courthouses are open Monday - Friday from 9:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and are closed and locked from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. All business must be commenced by 12:30 p.m. in the morning session and 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon.

Calendars are called at 9:30 a.m., unless an alternate time has been designated by the court.

During the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, many court proceedings are being conducted virtually.  The court will contact you with instructions on how to appear remotely if your proceeding is to be conducted virtually.

Adjournment requests must be in writing and will not be considered by phone. The party requesting the adjournment must provide the Court and all other parties named in the case with a copy of the letter request for the adjournment/postponement.  One (1) adjournment/postponement of not less than fourteen (14) days will be granted to the first party to make a proper, timely request.  All subsequent adjournment/postponement requests are left to the discretion of the court.

Landlord and Tenant (L&T) cases require a high level of understanding of the law and rules of New York State. While you have a right to proceed without an attorney, the Court suggests that you consult with an attorney before proceeding as a self-represented litigant.
 

For a list of free and paid legal service providers

LOS RESIDENTES DEL CONDADO DE SUFFOLK QUE SE ENFRENTAN A PROBLEMAS RELACIONADOS CON ATRASO DE PAGO DE ALQUILER PUEDEN SER ELEGIBLES PARA ASISTENCIA

 

Landlord Tenant

Landlord-Tenant (L&T) cases generally seek the relief of an order of the Court directing the rightful possession of real property – residential or commercial – back to the landlord.  In other words, the landlord/petitioner is asking a Judge to issue an order directing the eviction of a tenant who refuses to leave the property by a date certain.  Evictions are filed pursuant to Article 7 of the Real Property Actions and Proceeding Law (RPAPL) – summary proceedings to recover possession of real property.

The most common types of eviction proceedings are:
 
•    Non-Payment proceedings - brought only after there is a default in the payment of rent, and the landlord demands that the tenant pay the rent or move from the property (there is no mandatory dollar limit or cap on the amount of proven unpaid rent that may be awarded in a money judgment in a summary proceeding). (see RPAPL §711)
•    Holdover proceedings - generally brought when a person or business remains in possession of real property after the tenancy has either been terminated or expired by its own terms.  For example, when a lease ends on a certain date or after service of a termination notice. (see RPAPL §711)
•    A party may also bring a proceeding claiming Nuisance (Nuisance proceedings) in which the tenant or occupant uses the property or commits acts on the property that interfere with another’s right to use and enjoy the property and/or poses a safety risk or hazard to others at the property. 
•    For information on other types of Landlord Tenant proceedings, please speak with an attorney.

 

Case Information and dates available online at WebCivil Local
 

Pending L&T cases may be found at WebCivil Local. The site lists civil court cases that are searchable by index number, party name, attorney name, or judge name, or calendar information by court, judge and part.

Landlord Tenant cases are filed in one (1) of the outlying District Courts located within the five (5) western towns of Suffolk County – Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip and Smithtown.  The L&T case must be filed in the District Court located with the same Town where the property is located.  
    
Search by index number. The case index number consists of four (4) parameters: 

a) Prefix listing the abbreviation for the case type, 
b) Case Number, 
c) Last two digits of the year the case was filed, and 
d) Suffix listing the abbreviation for the outlying district court where the case will be heard

"•• - ###### - YY/•• "

••prefixes CC CV LT or SC
CC- Commercial Claim
CV-Civil
LT- Landlord Tenant
SC - Small Claims

••suffix BA BR CE HU IS or SM
BA- Suffolk County 2nd District Court located in Babylon
BR- Suffolk County 6th District Court located Brookhaven 
CE- Suffolk County 1st District Court located in Islip
HU- Suffolk County 3rd District located in Huntington 
IS- Suffolk County 5th District Court located in Islip
SM- Suffolk County 4th District Court located in Smithtown

An example of an index number for a Landlord Tenant case located in the 6th District Court in Brookhaven and filed in 2021 would be LT-123456 - 21/BR

Note that L&T cases either without a future calendar date, or after fourteen (14) days past the final court appearance, are not retrievable on WebCivil Local will not be found. Cases prior to 2006 will not be found unless the case was restored or calendared after 2012. Sealed cases similarly are not retrievable on WebCivil Local.

 

Additional Landlord Tenant Resources
The various L&T resources are provided to offer a basic understanding of L&T Court.  This information is not to be considered in any way as providing legal advice regarding your particular matter nor is it a substitute for you seeking the advice of counsel.

Landlord Tenant court schedule
L&T cases calendar days in the Suffolk District Courts

Landlord Tenant Court Forms
 

Landlord and Tenant proceedings require a high level of understanding of the laws and rules of New York State, including:

•    Real Property Law
•    Real Property Actions & Proceedings Law
•    Civil Procedure Laws and Rules

In addition, there are specific local rules and practices regarding L&T cases. While you have a right to proceed without an attorney, the Court once again suggests that you consult with an attorney before proceeding as a self-represented landlord or tenant.

Please also see:

•    NYS Attorney General Housing Issues webpage
•    Nassau County District Court L&T Forms and Guides for Landlords and Tenants

 

Frequently Asked Questions
How to request a stay of eviction or vacate a default L&T judgment (DC-420)

Please also see:

 


What is a Landlord-Tenant (L&T) court case?

Do I need an attorney for an L&T case?

What forms do I need to start an L&T case?

How do I fill out these forms?

Do I need to do anything before I file papers with the Court?

How does the Tenant find out about the court date?

What should I bring to Court on the court date?

What happens in Court on the court date?

What happens at the conclusion of my L&T case?

How do I request a Judgment and Warrant?

Can I evict my son / girlfriend / roommate?

Can a tenant bring a landlord to Court?

I have been served with eviction papers. What do I do?

What happens if I am a tenant and I do not appear in Court after receiving a NOTICE OF PETITION?

How do I ask a Judge to vacate a default judgment and stay my eviction?

 

What is a Landlord-Tenant (L&T) court case?

Landlord-Tenant (L&T) court cases generally seek the relief of an order of the Court directing the rightful possession of real property – residential or commercial – back to the landlord. In other words, the landlord/petitioner is asking a Judge to issue an order directing the eviction of a tenant who refuses to leave the property by a certain date. Evictions are filed pursuant to Article 7 of the Real Property Actions and Proceeding Law (RPAPL) summary proceedings to recover possession of real property.

The two most common types of eviction proceedings are:

  • Non-Payment proceedings - brought only after there is a default in the payment of rent, and the landlord demands that the tenant pay the rent or move from the property (there is no mandatory dollar limit or cap on the amount of proven unpaid rent that may be awarded in a money judgment in a summary proceeding.(see RPAPL §711)
  • Holdover proceedings - generally brought when a person or business remains in possession of real property after the tenancy has either been terminated or expired. For example, when a lease ends on a certain date or after service of a termination notice. (see RPAPL §711)

There are other types of L&T proceedings (some are listed in RPAPL §713 and RPAPL §715). You should speak with an attorney for legal advice on how to properly draft your court documents.

On occasion, Tenants may also file L&T cases either following an unlawful eviction (self-help by the Landlord) or to require a Landlord to fix a dangerous or life-threatening condition at the property. These cases are special proceedings filed pursuant to RPAPL Article 7A: special proceedings to remedy conditions dangerous to life, health or safety.

L&T proceedings are specialized and procedural rules must be followed strictly.
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Do I need an attorney for an L&T case?

This Court strongly recommends that you retain an attorney. Proceedings to recover real property require knowledge of the law and familiarity with local rules and practices.

If you are an individual who chooses to proceed without an attorney, you will be responsible for preparing your papers in accordance with the law without any assistance from the Court Clerk or the court staff.

Corporations must have an attorney appear for them in Court. (CPLR § 321(a)).
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What forms do I need to start an L&T case?

Usually a NOTICE OF PETITION and a PETITION. Unfortunately, at present, many of the pre-printed Court forms are unavailable due to recent changes in the law. Periodically, the forms will be updated, so please check back periodically.

For Non-Payment proceedings

For Holdover proceedings

For other kinds of evictions, or if the available forms are not for you, a NOTICE OF PETITION and PETITION would need to be drafted by an attorney.
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How do I fill out these forms?

If you wish to proceed without an attorney, you will be responsible for preparing your papers in accordance with the law, without assistance from the court staff.

Forms must be completed using BLACK ink only and submitted in duplicate to the Court Clerk for signature. You must pay a filing fee and get an index number. The Court Clerk will assist you in setting a court date in order to ensure that Court will be in session.

A NOTICE OF PETITION must be issued by an attorney or the Court Clerk to compel the appearance of the tenant in Court. The Court Clerk will review your forms if you have no attorney and sign the NOTICE OF PETITION only if the papers are correct.
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Do I need to do anything before I file papers with the Court?

Probably. For the majority of L&T cases, there are specific legal prerequisites (Predicate Notice) to the institution of your proceeding to recover real property (such as a five (5) day late rent reminder and a fourteen (14) day rent demand for Non-payment proceedings; and a ten (10) day notice, a thirty (30) day notice, a sixty (60) day notice, a ninety (90) day notice, or a notice of longer duration in a majority Holdover proceedings). Providing a proper Predicate Notice – content, timeliness and proper type of service – is an element of the Landlord’s case. The failure to adhere to the applicable laws pertaining to Predicate Notice may be a basis for the L&T case to be dismissed. You should consult with an attorney or refer to the Real Property Law or Real Property Actions & Proceedings Law to be sure you have satisfied all requirements.

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How does the Tenant find out about the court date?

The tenant will be served with a copy of the Notice of Petition that lists the time, date and location to appear in court.

The landlord or the landlord's attorney will have a process server or any non-party over the age of eighteen (18) serve a copy of the papers filed with the Court on each tenant.

Professional process servers may be found in the phone book or online. A copy of the papers must be served by someone over the age of 18, who is not a party to the action. Service must be in full compliance with the law.

After each tenant is served with a copy of the papers, the process server must swear on a form called an AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE as to how the papers were served. In most cases, proof of service must be filed with the clerk within three (3) of effecting service.

As of June 2019, the Notice of Petition and Petition must be served upon the respondent/tenant no more than seventeen (17) days but no fewer than ten (10) days before the court date listed on the notice. Please consult with an attorney if you have questions regarding the timing of notices provided in your case.

All future court dates, if any, will be set during court proceedings or upon notice by the court. If the next date is provided by notice from the court, the court will notify parties of the next court date by mail and provide instructions on ways to attend virtually if applicable. You can also look up your next court date on WebCivil Local by searching by index number, party name, attorney name, or judge name, or calendar information by court, judge and part.

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What should I bring to Court on the court date?

Bring with you all evidence necessary to prove your claim or your defense. Anything that will help prove the facts in dispute should be brought to Court. This includes written agreements, leases, receipts and photographs. Originals (not photocopies) may be required, if available. All public documents must be certified by the agency producing such documents (a certification is a statement that the documents are true copies of an agency's records - the agency should be able to tell you how to get the records certified).

Landlords should bring:

  • the original or certified copy of the deed to the building
  • the lease or written agreement for the party you are suing, if there is one
  • certified copies of registration statements (like the town's rent registration, or a multiple dwelling registration statement)
  • your record keeping book
  • any other documents that are relevant to the claims you are making
  • witnesses (like a superintendent, manager, or mechanic who can testify as to attempts to gain access and/or attempts to repair conditions, if conditions are an issue)
  • process server if service is disputed

Tenants should bring:

  • rent receipts, checks or other proof of rent payments
  • the lease or written agreement for the apartment, if you have one
  • photographs of any conditions you are claiming
  • heat charts, if heat is an issue and you kept a record
  • receipts or bills for any money you claim you spent
  • any other documents that are relevant to your defense or to the claims you are making
  • witnesses (like a friend or neighbor who has seen a condition complained of, if conditions are an issue)
     

What happens in Court on the court date?

Your Case Will Be Called
Check to make sure your case is on the calendar, posted in the courthouse. You will need your index number to find the case on the calendar.

Opportunity to Settle the Case Without a Trial or Hearing
At the call of the calendar in the courtroom, identify yourself by announcing “Here” when the Clerk calls your case. If all parties are present, the Judge will probably request that you try to settle the case - a voluntary, binding agreement that resolves the differences between the parties to a lawsuit. As part of that process, the Judge will also offer the parties the opportunity to participate in the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. For more information about Landlord Tenant ADR click here. In a settlement you can help determine the outcome of your case. However, no one can force you to settle a case.

If you settle the case, the agreement will be put in writing in a document called a stipulation. You must also be sure to understand the terms of the stipulation which will become a legally binding agreement after reviewed and accepted by the Judge. No settlement is final until the stipulation is reviewed by a Judge.

If you cannot settle the case, the Judge will have a hearing.

Hearing
Generally, the landlord presents his or her case first. After being sworn as a witness, the landlord or the landlord’s managing agent will tell his or her version of the claims in the case. The landlord may offer certain documents into evidence. This is called direct examination. When the landlord or the person on the landlord’s behalf has finished testifying, the tenant has the right to ask questions. This is called cross-examination. Sometimes a Judge may ask questions to clarify matters and/or to conduct the hearing in an expeditious manner. Additional witnesses may be called to testify in support of the landlord’s claims, and they, too can be cross-examined by the tenant or may be asked questions by the Judge.

The tenant will then be sworn as a witness to give his or her side of the story and present evidence. When the tenant has finished testifying, the landlord has the right to cross-examine the tenant. The Judge may again ask questions. Sometimes a Judge may ask some questions to clarify matters. Additional testimony and forms of evidence may be elicited from other witnesses called by the tenant. Cross-examination and perhaps additional questioning by the Judge may follow suit for each witness called.

Parties to a lawsuit have a right to object to the introduction of evidence or the way a question is being asked or answered. The appropriate way to object is to say “objection.” The Judge may then ask the basis for the objection. If the Judge agrees with the objection, the Judge will say “sustained” and the evidence will not be admitted. If the Judge disagrees with the objection, the Judge will say “overruled” and the evidence will be admitted and considered by the Court, or jury, if the hearing is proceeding by jury trial.
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What happens at the conclusion of my L&T case?

If the landlord wins, the landlord is granted possession of the property. The landlord will then be able to request and have issued by the Court need a JUDGMENT OF POSSESSION, and A WARRANT OF EVICTION. The WARRANT is comparable to an execution in a civil action. After a WARRANT OF EVICTION is issued by the court (you must request it - see below - and you receive it in the mail) you must file it with the Suffolk County Sheriff. The Suffolk County Sheriff must give at least 14 days notice (a 14 DAY NOTICE) after the expiration of any and all stays directed by the Judge before evicting a tenant/respondent from the premises.
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How do I request a Judgment and Warrant?

Attorneys must file a proposed JUDGMENT OF POSSESSION (like the Blumberg T-1412, T-1413, or T-1414) and WARRANT OF EVICTION (like the Blumberg T-1408 or T-1409) with the Court Clerk. The Court will generate the appropriate papers. Attorneys may submit a proposed MONEY JUDGMENT and pay the fee for a TRANSCRIPT OF JUDGMENT at the time the WARRANT and JUDGMENT are submitted, and the Clerk will issue the TRANSCRIPT OF JUDGMENT to be used in enforcing any money judgment.

Self-represented landlords must request in writing that the court issue the JUDGMENT OF POSSESSION, WARRANT OF EVICTION, and TRANSCRIPT OF JUDGMENT. If the tenant/respondent is in default, a non-military affidavit will be required. If a TRANSCRIPT OF JUDGMENT is requested the transcript fee must be paid when the request is filed with the Court Clerk.

Include a stamped self-addressed envelope with the proposed papers or written request. The Clerk will mail the papers to the attorney of record or if there is no attorney, to the self-represented landlord.
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Can I evict my son / girlfriend / roommate?

Possibly, dependent upon the particular circumstances of your situation. You should contact and seek assistance of an attorney.

The forms referred to above are intended for a landlord to evict a tenant. If the person you want to evict is not a tenant, or if you are not the landlord, you may be able to evict them, but not with these court forms. Examples of relationships involving real property which may permit an eviction are included at RPAPL §713 and RPAPL §715).
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Can a tenant bring a landlord to Court?

Yes, under certain circumstances, a tenant may commence a proceeding against can bring a landlord in to L&T Court. The NYS Attorney General's Tenants' Rights Guide has additional information. For example, the following situations may permit such a case.

  1. A tenant may bring a special proceeding in L&T Court to recover possession of premises from which he or she has been forcibly put out or kept out (RPAPL §721(4)). A tenant must bring such a proceeding within three years of ouster (RPAPL §713(10)). No Predictable Notice is required prior to commencing the proceeding.
  2. New York Real Property Actions & Proceedings Article 7-A - (§§769 - 783) addresses special proceedings brought by tenants of dwellings in Suffolk County. Pursuant to RPAPL Article 7A, one third or more of tenants occupying a multiple dwelling located in Suffolk county may petition the Court to have an administrator appointed to manage the premises. This type of proceeding is complicated and retaining an attorney is suggested.

Your rights would best be protected with the assistance of an attorney. You can contact the Suffolk County Bar Association for a free or low-fee consult. You might also contact Nassau/Suffolk Law Services and Long Island Housing Services, Inc for assistance.

A tenant might sue a landlord in Small Claims Court if money is owed after the tenant has moved out of the rental.
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I have been served with eviction papers. What do I do?

You must appear in court on the date and time stated in the Notice of Petition served on you by the landlord’s process server.

If the eviction is based on the non-payment of rent, you may pay the landlord at any time prior to the hearing the full amount demanded in the petition. This will end the eviction proceeding (RPAPL § 731(4)). In addition, if you pay the full amount of rent awarded to the landlord by the Court at any time prior to the eviction, then the warrant and judgment will be vacated (and the tenant may remain in the property) provided the rent was not previously withheld in “bad faith” (RPAPL § 749(3)). The same rules do not apply to holdover proceedings.

If the petition is for non-payment of rent, please see Tenant Questions & Answers: Nonpayment Eviction Cases in New York State.

If you were served with a holdover petition, please see Tenant Questions & Answers: Holdover Eviction Cases in New York State.

Your rights would best be protected with the assistance of an attorney. You can contact the Suffolk County Bar Association for a free or low-fee consult. You might also contact Nassau/Suffolk Law Services and Long Island Housing Services, Inc for assistance.
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What happens if I am a tenant and I do not appear in Court after receiving a NOTICE OF PETITION?

If the landlord or the landlord's attorney communicates to the Court that you were served with a Notice of Petition and other required documents, and you do not appear as directed, the case will be decided without you. The Judge may grant a DEFAULT JUDGMENT against you.

A WARRANT OF EVICTION may be issued.

A judgment for unpaid rent and fees may also be entered against you.

After the WARRANT OF EVICTION is filed with the Sheriff, a Deputy Sheriff will post a 14-DAY NOTICE for you to leave the premises.

When the WARRANT OF EVICTION is enforced, the Sheriff will return and remove you and your personal property.
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How do I ask a Judge to vacate a default judgment and stay my eviction?

Go to Court and submit a request for the Judge to sign an Order to Show Cause to Vacate a Landlord Tenant Judgment.

You can get these forms from

You must explain to the Judge in your papers that you have

  • a good reason for not appearing in Court, AND
  • a good defense to the lawsuit

Bring photocopies of documents that help you prove your arguments.

In addition, even if you appeared in Court, but seek additional time prior to the eviction or circumstances have changed that warrant vacating the judgment and/or warrant, you may submit an Order to Show Cause for the Court’s consideration.

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