How to file in Housing Court 11

Yesterday’s session was greatly satisfying, because the HPD lawyer wasn’t going to accept any further postponements in getting the sloping floor in the hallway repaired.

Larry, the Skush-O’Briens’ lawyer, arrived with a letter from Griggsby, the managing agent, stating that they were still talking to contractors about having the work evaluated, and could they extend the time to after mid-October? I didn’t need to say no. No, said the HPD lawyer; they’ve known about this since February 28. So he wanted an immediate fine of $1000, which he would reduce to $500 given other assurances.

Larry couldn’t agree to that, so we went before the judge. After some back and forth about the seriousness of the work and about whether I really wanted to pursue this case (oh I did), we agreed to an immediate $500 fine and that the work had to be completed by October 15. If it is not done by then, I return to court and get the case back onto the schedule, and more fines would be assessed retroactively to August 2.

In between, as I waited, I listened to a couple of other cases. I find the sociology of Housing Court — as a microcosm reflective of the entire city — greatly interesting. Yesterday, by some odd coincidence, two cases concerned infestations and exterminators. One case involved a man whose apartment, as the judge described the photos he was looking at, sounded like a matter for that reality TV show about hoarders. A horrifying mess that no exterminator could get into. The judge invoked an earlier judgment that the apartment mess had to be cleared out, put in storage or somewhere, before an exterminator could do the work.

The second case involved a bedbug infestation. The judge gave a talk about the little critters, and deemed that no housing inspector could adequately inspect for bedbugs, so … call in the dogs! The HPD lawyer got on the phone to arrange a date and time for the Guy With The Two Dogs to come to the apartment.

Somewhere in there a cat was mentioned but definitely not in connection with looking for bedbugs. I think it was just someone’s pet. Housing Court is, as I’ve said before, a human-sized kind of place.

The judge asked the dogs’ names. I don’t know if his curiosity was satisfied. Not while I was there, anyway. Maybe later, maybe someone produced the names of the two dogs who would do the bedbug work.

I hope so.


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