About Housing Court and How to Complain

What You Should Know About Housing Court
If you are going to Housing Court without a lawyer, look first at our 12 Things You Should Know and our Overview of the Court Process Information Sheets.

For information about Housing Court published by the court system, see the court’s website.

Before going to court, use our information sheets and visit the court’s website for its guides for tenants or landlords.

Housing Court Judges
The city’s fifty Housing Court judges sit mostly in either resolution or trial parts in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Staten Island, the Harlem Community Justice Center and the Red Hook Community Justice Center each have only one Housing Court judge who addresses all cases. Housing Court judges are appointed by the Chief Administrative Judge with the assistance of the Housing Court Advisory Council. The judge’s assignments (which rooms/parts they are assigned to) are posted on the court’s website.  The Housing Court Judges up for reappointment are listed here. If you have had a negative experience with a judge who is up for reappointment, please write to the addresses provided.

The Clerk’s Office
Each court house has a clerk’s office. This office is used for filing new cases, filing answers and orders to show cause. You can also go to the clerk’s office to request copies of papers in the files for a particular case.

The Resource Centers or Help Centers
The Housing Courts in all the boroughs have Help Centers (also called the Resource Centers). People without lawyers can get information sheets, use public access computers, sign up to see the pro se attorneys, and find other resources. In the Bronx and Manhattan, there is childcare available.

Access to Case Files
Do you have a case in Housing Court? You can access eCourts to see if your case is active and on the calendar (note: your case will only appear on eCourts if you have a court date in the future).

Every Housing Court also provides on-site public access to the computerized case files. With the name of the Plaintiff or Respondent or the docket number, you can search Housing Court records for cases. You can also go to the clerk’s office in the courthouse and request the actual paper files for a particular case.

Housing Court Directives
For directives from the supervising judges to the Housing Court judges on a variety of issues, see the court’s website.

Complain About the Court
We take complaints from pro se litigants (people without lawyers) who feel that they were treated unfairly or disrespectfully in Housing Court. The complaints are, at the complainants’ choice, sent to the Supervising Judge, the Administrative Judge and to the Housing Court Advisory Council. People without lawyers who wish to complain about a Housing Court Judge directly can also send complaints directly to the same people.

In general, you should file a complaint through our website (or directly – see above) if you appeared in court without an attorney and experienced any of the following:

  • The judge’s or court attorney’s behavior was impatient or undignified (improper demeanor).
  • The judge or court attorney showed improper favor to one side (bias).
  • The judge or court attorney spoke about the case with one side when the other side was not present (ex parte communication).
  • The judge or court attorney has an outside relationship with one side in the case (conflict of interest).

You can also file complaints about the guardian ad litem program.

To file a complaint through us, please see this page.