How to file in Housing Court 12

Today I’m catching up with the narrative about my Housing Court-HPD complaint. Several events postponed my posts. The hurricane, during which my neighborhood was powerless from Monday night, October 29 through Saturday early morning, November 3, was the least significant.

The most significant? I received notifications from a slew of crucial co-op and building suppliers — Con Ed, the insurance company, the Water Board, and a collection agency to whom the City of New York turned over a $8,000 Department of Buildings violation and fine, incurred by the Skush-O’Briens but billed to the co-op — threatening shut-offs, liens and cancellation of our insurance policy.

The total amount the co-op, via the Skush-O’Briens, owed was $41,746.13.

Because of this disaster in the offing, my lawyer filed in the Supreme Court an Order to Show Cause why a receiver, a neutral authority such as a lawyer, should not be appointed to take over management of the co-op …

Pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules §6401(a), appointing a Temporary Receiver for Defendant [Little Crooked House Tenants Corp] and authorizing him/her to take, hold and manage certain real property, to wit, [address of building]; authorizing him/her to sue for, collect and pay debts or claims, upon such conditions as this Court shall direct…

That’s what our OSC says. All that, however, is actually parenthetical to this, my continuing appearance in Housing Court in pursuit of getting the sloping hallway floors repaired.

The work had to be completed by October 15. On September 25, I received an e-mail from Griggsby, the building manager, that a contractor would be in the building the following day to do the work. I wrote back, reminding Griggsby that there was a DOB violation and $2500 fine on that same problem, and that I assumed the work should not be done without paying the fine and getting a DOB permit.

I never heard from Griggsby. The next day, though, two guys showed up and began to work on the third floor. I asked them about the DOB permit. They knew nothing. Impossible: the DOB violation dated from August 2010, and I had reminded everyone about it numerous times — once in Housing Court in front of the judge, on April 10, 2012. In fact, on that date I produced the actual DOB violation.

So I called DOB for an inspection. DOB never came; I guess they show up immediately only if the violation is hazardous. (Or they were resting up in preparation for Sandy.) But the two guys finished some work on the third floor. As they were packing up, I asked them if they would be returning the next day to work on the second floor. Yes, they said, they’d be here at 10 am.

They never came. So, on October 15, I went back to the second floor Housing Court clerk at 111 Centre Street and filed another affidavit, Order to Show Cause and application to put the case back on the court calendar, for a hearing during which I’d ask that the co-op be fined again for failure to complete the work they’d promised to do.

And, yet again, I went to the post office and mailed the Order to Show Cause by certified mail to Housing Preservation and Development and the Skush-O’Briens’ lawyers. Thus, everyone was notified that the next court date was October 26.

This is the attitude every one of us must take when suing, or filing individually in courts such as Housing Court. Calm, resolute persistence. Let’s not get bored, let’s not get discouraged, let’s not let up. Don’t let your opponent off the hook for a minute.

Keep showing up on the right date, at the right time, and filling out the right forms.


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