How to file a complaint in Housing Court 5

As I told you in my previous post, I served my Housing Court complaint by certified mail. A few days later, I received in my mailbox the signed postcard. I clipped this onto my growing pile of documents, as proof that I’d served my landlord, who in this case is the board of directors of my co-op.

(By the way, “service” and “filing” are not interchangeable legal terms: you serve your opponents, and you file in the court.)

The HPD inspector came exactly on the date and time I’d chosen. I was ready with my Tenants Request for Inspection form but of course he came with his own. I was so excited, I ran down the stairs and greeted him cheerfully. I was going to be his guide to the building and its problems.

Forgot to tell you: when I prepared that form, I organized it in what would be the order of his inspection. So exterior problems came first, and then the list followed the violations right up the staircase. As did the inspector. I didn’t want him to have to run up and down and out and in. And thus he didn’t have to. We proceeded up the stairs, as I pointed out one problem after another.

He did give me some indication of violations that he wouldn’t certify, such as the exterior window frames. “These aren’t anywhere near as bad as I’ve seen,” he said. I was perfectly OK when he dropped some items; I had so many that he did not drop.

And indeed on February 23 — about a week after the inspector’s visit on February 15 — I was able to go back into the Housing Preservation and Development web site and view the violations the inspector had certified. Interesting: the problem that had originally provoked my Housing Court complaint (the leak-damaged ceiling in my living room) hadn’t made the inspector’s cut. Maybe because it hadn’t yet fallen down. Remember what he said about other conditions (“This is nowhere as bad as I’ve seen”).

But, still, he had certified 13 violations. Some were relatively easy to fix; at least one was not going to be easy.

On my scheduled court date, February 28, and early, at 9 am, I took all my papers, receipts and proof of service back to 111 Centre Street, second floor, to launch the next phase of my successful experience in New York City’s Housing Court.

Next: My first appearance in Housing Court.

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