Abatement: A reduction (of rent).
Adjournment: A temporary postponement of the case until a future date.
Affidavit: An affirmed statement submitted by a non-attorney made in writing and signed; if sworn, it must be notarized.
Answer: A response by the respondent notifying both the Court and the petitioner (often, the landlord) exactly what the respondent’s reply is to the claims in the petition. It may contain a general denial, any defenses and any counterclaims.
Counterclaim: A claim by a respondent to a petitioner, such as for specific repairs or money for repairs.
Decision: The determination reached by a court in any judicial proceeding, which is the basis of the judgment.
Default Judgment: A judgment against the respondent as a result of his or her failure to appear or submit papers at an appointed time during the case.
HCR: (Homes and Community Renewal) A New York State administrative agency which regulates residential housing subject to rent stabilization and rent control (formerly DHCR: New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal).
DRIE: The Disability Rent Increase Exemption program protects tenants in rent stabilized apartments who have disabilities from being priced out of their apartments as rents increase by ‘locking in’ the rent when a tenant applied for the program.
Garnish/garnishment: To seize a portion of wages or other property of a judgment debtor to repay the debt to the judgment creditor. The garnishing party notifies a third party, such as an employer or bank, to hold back something it has for the defendant-debtor.
HPD: The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, an administrative agency that provides support for the repair, rehabilitation, and construction of housing units in New York City and issues violations of the Housing Maintenance Code.
HASA: HIV/AIDS Service Administration that expedites access to essential benefits and social services needed by persons living with AIDS or clinical symptomatic HIV illness and their families.
Holdover Petition: The document filed by a landlord in Housing Court to evict a tenant for reasons other than simple nonpayment of rent.
HP Action (Housing Part Action): An action brought in Housing Court by the tenant against the landlord for failing to provide essential services such as heat, hot water, or extermination and/ or is not making repairs to leaky faucets, faulty electrical outlets, peeling paint, etc.
HRA/DSS: The Human Resources Administration/ Department of Social Services, a city administrative agency that provides aid to needy individuals and families through a broad range of programs and services.
Levy: To take property in execution of a judgment.
Marshal’s Notice of Eviction: A notice from a City Marshal informing the recipient that they will be evicted after a certain time period. These notices usually give tenants or occupants at least 6 business days before the Marshal may come.
Money Judgment: A judgment for a certain amount of money.
Multiple Dwelling Registration: A requirement that an apartment building with three or more individual units (whether legal or illegal) must be registered as a multiple dwelling unit and is thus subject to particular housing rules and regulations.
Nonpayment Petition: The document filed by a landlord in Housing Court when a tenant does not pay the rent due.
Notice of Petition: A petitioner’s written notice delivered to the respondents stating that the court will hear the attached petition.
Notice to Cure: Written notice from the landlord that provides the tenant with what the landlord considers certain actions to be in violation of lease.
Notice to Terminate: Written notice by the landlord that notifies the tenant that the tenancy is terminated and that, if the tenant does not give up the apartment and move out, the landlord will go to court to seek the tenant’s eviction.
Notice to Quit: Written notice by the landlord that notifies the occupant that he/she must give up the apartment and move out or the landlord will go to court to seek the tenant’s eviction.
NYCHA: New York City Housing Authority, a city administrative agency that provides housing and administers Section 8 vouchers.
OPA: Opposing Party Attorney, i.e. opposing counsel.
Order: An oral or written command or a direction from a judge.
Order to Show Cause: A direction from the Court to appear and explain why the relief requested should or should not be granted. Often used to try to stop an eviction, to force the landlord to meet his or her part of an agreement or the judge’s order, or to bring the case back to the judge for any reason.
Petition: In landlord-tenant cases, a paper filed in court and delivered to the respondents, stating what the petitioner requests from the court and the respondents.
Petitioner: Person/entity commencing action. The Owner is the petitioner in non-payment and holdover cases. The Tenant is the petitioner in HP (or repairs) cases.
Possessory Judgment: A judgment for possession of residential or non-residential property.
Predicate Notice: A notice, served upon a respondent prior to the commencement of a special proceeding, such as a Demand for Rent, Notice to Quit, Notice to Cure a Substantial Violation of the Lease, Notice of Termination or a Notice of Intent Not To Renew a Lease.
Prima Facie: The basic elements of the plaintiff’s case necessary to prove the “facts;” for example, proof of rental agreement, who are the tenants, landlords, etc. Without this information, the judge can dismiss the case.
Pro Se Legal Representation: Refers to the instance of a person representing himself or herself without a lawyer in a court proceeding.
Rent Regulation: Refers to laws such as Rent Control and Rent Stabilization that apply that govern and provide additional protections for some apartments.
Rent Control: Laws and regulations which govern the occupancy of certain housing accommodations, first instituted in New York City after World War II. It is administered by HCR.
Rent Stabilization: Laws and regulations which govern the occupancy of certain housing accommodations, first instituted in New York City in 1969. It is administered by HCR.
Respondent: The person/entity answering an action. The tenant is the respondent in non-payment and holdover cases. The owner/landlord is the respondent in an HP action.
Section 8: A federally funded housing subsidy that provides recipients the opportunity to choose and lease rental housing by paying the difference between the rent and 30% of the tenant’s household income.
Section 8 Voucher: Federal subsidy available to some tenants that assists with paying of rent in any apartment (i.e. private apartments, not just public or rent regulated); often administered by NYCHA, but can also be administered by other agencies such as HPD or HCR.
Service: The delivery of copies of legal documents to the respondent or other person to whom the documents are directed. For example, petitions, orders to show cause, subpoenas, notices to quit the premises are legal documents that must be served. The procedure for service of process is specifically set out in statutes.
Stipulation of Settlement (a.k.a. “Stip”): An agreement between the parties to settle all or part of the case without additional hearings. The settlement must be approved by the Court, and if so, it becomes part of the Court’s order.
SCRIE: The Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption protects tenants who are 62 or older, live in a rent stabilized apartment, and have a disposable household income of less than $50,000 from being priced out of their apartments as rents increase by ‘locking in’ the rent when a tenant applied for the program.
Subpoena: A document used to demand information or to require a witness to testify in court.
Use and Occupancy: Payment to the landlord for the right to use and occupy the apartment after the landlord-tenant relationship has been terminated.
Warrant of Eviction: A document that authorizes an eviction after a possessory judgment has been awarded to the owner/landlord. It describes the premises and directs the sheriff or Marshal to remove all persons from that premises and put the winning party in possession.
Warranty of Habitability: A promise implied in every tenancy that the apartment will be clean and livable.
For more information, see the New York City Bar Association’s Tenant’s Guide to New York City Housing Court.