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Eviction Numbers and Housing Court Filings

Evictions dropped significantly in 2015. Evictions by a marshal dropped by 18% – and the number of evictions was the lowest its been in 10 years. In the past, a drop in evictions has mirrored a drop in Housing Court case filings – but not in 2015. Case filings were almost the same as in 2014 showing that the city’s new efforts have slowed evictions (and we hope, will slow the rate of families entering shelter).  To see the numbers and the trends, visit the pages below:

Evictions by city marshals are released by the NYC Department of investigations. Click here for those numbers

The New York City Civil Court releases information about the number of cases filed in Housing Court, the types of cases and other information from the clerk’s offices. Click here for those numbers.

The New York City Rent Guidelines Board also gets this data and puts it into their easy to read charts. To find their reports, go to the Housing Research section of the RGB website and look at their Income and Affordability Reports.

On Housing Court and the Right to Counsel
The City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court (now Housing Court Answers) conducted a comprehensive study of Housing Court, called Five Minute Justice, in 1986 showing that the average case involving an unrepresented tenant was dealt with in about five minutes (to obtain this report, contact our office). Understanding that this was devastating for the thousands of tenants whose homes were at stake, the organization worked with others to file a class action lawsuit (Donaldson vs. the State of New York) to try and win the right to counsel for poor people in Housing Court. A study done in conjunction with the suitThe Donaldson Report (pdf), confirmed the tremendous imbalance – 88% of tenants in Housing Court could not afford attorneys while 97% of landlords were represented by counsel. The study also showed that 66% of tenants were eligible for free legal assistance but most were unable to get it thanks to lack of funding for legal providers.

The New York County Lawyers Association published Housing Court in the 21st Century with a series of papers by some of New York’s leading landlord-tenant practioners.  The Touro Law Review article on the Right to Counsel by Ray Brescia is also here on our website.

Homelessness Prevention
In 2005, the Vera Institute of Justice released a comprehensive study examining family homelessness and its causes. One of the findings was that a majority of homeless families resided in the Bronx, Central Brooklyn and Northern Manhattan prior to becoming homeless. Another finding was that only one quarter of homeless families had sought help fighting their eviction.  The Coalition for the Homeless reports on the numbers of New Yorkers sleeping in municipal shelters each night, and reports on their advocacy efforts to reduce those numbers.

HP Action and Repairs
In 1999, the City Wide Task Force on Housing Court along with Legal Aid Society attorneys, Thomas Kamber of the One Economy Corporation, and staff from Pilsbury, Winthrop, Fish and Nieve put together a monitoring report of the HP part or repairs part of Housing Court entitled, “No Rainbow, No Gold.”  This report scrutinized the timeliness of the repairs process in the HP Part as well as examined whether or not, ethnicity and class had a correlating impact upon the speed of repairs.  In their study, they found data to “suggest that the court is very often an ineffectual and laggardly force for promoting housing improvements” and further that “a disturbing relationship [exists] between poverty status of the tenant and the length of time it takes to get an inspection.”

Eviction, Housing and Poverty Information
Many organizations do regular reports on New York City housing conditions, income and poverty, and the welfare of tenants. The Community Service Society produces Making the Rent every year about low income people, their rents and incomes.

The New York City Rent Guidelines Board, which is responsible for setting rent increases for rent stabilized apartments, does research on all aspects of the one million rent regulated apartments in the city. The RGB’s website also contains links to the Housing Vacancy Survey, a comprehensive study of the city’s housing done every three years. The Coalition for the Homeless studies the causes of homelessness and the effectiveness of eviction prevention programs. Their advocacy agenda and reports are available on their website.  The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy produces a report every year, The State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods, with details on housing and population conditions in every New York City neighborhood.

Need more information about Housing Court and related topics? Contact us.