Thursday, April 15, 2010


Yesterday I was a Volunteer Lawyer at Landlord/Tenant Court in Nassau and here are just a few recommendations to those tenants faced with a summary proceeding, whether a non-payment or a holdover:

1. Once you receive papers, go to the court and check the file, especially the affidavit of service. If you have documents showing that the affidavit is incorrect: i.e. someone was home when they claimed to have attempted to serve you, bring that documentation or other evidence with you.

2. Bring a copy of your written lease.

3. Bring all your rent receipts or cancelled checks, etc. If your landlord refuses to give you a cash receipt, give him a postal order. If your landlord refuses that, you have a troublesome landlord and keep a diary and other documentation i.e. bank withdrawals of rent amount.

4. If you are claiming the premises are inhabitable, bring the proof. First, whenever things go bad and your landlord refuses to repair, contact the Department of Buildings for an inspection. Bring pictures of damages, etc.

An attorney can only defend you if you supply him with evidence of your defenses. Your testimony alone may not be sufficient. For more information on tenants' rights and defenses, go to

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