Legal Assistance

Legal Assistance

HRA's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ)

If you are facing eviction, if you need help with an immigration matter, if you are a worker facing wage theft or other workplace violations, or if you are facing other legal challenges, you may have access to free legal assistance through HRA's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ).

Through OCJ, New York City has made an extraordinary investment in legal services to level the playing field for New Yorkers in need, including tenants, immigrants, low-wage workers and other New Yorkers facing civil legal challenges. Today, New York City is a national leader in providing legal assistance to low-income families and individuals.

COVID-19/Coronavirus – What You Should Know

  • In response to the COVID-19/coronavirus emergency, HRA's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ) has partnered with nonprofit legal services providers across New York City to offer universal phone-based access to free legal advice and counsel for New York City residential renters in need of assistance with legal issues related to their housing.

    During the emergency, OCJ legal providers are available Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm to provide over-the-phone legal assistance to callers with legal questions or issues about tenancy, eviction or landlord-tenant disputes.

    For more information, please call 311 for the City’s Tenant Helpline or email civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov.

    OCJ legal services are free and you do not have to be an existing HRA client to apply.

    Legal services are available regardless of immigration status.

 

  • Evictions are suspended until at least October 1, 2020, by order of the New York State courts, but if you received an eviction notice before March 16, 2020, your landlord can still file a motion in court to try to evict you.

    If you receive a motion like this, or if you receive a warrant of eviction, you should call HRA's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ) as soon as possible
    . OCJ can provide free legal assistance through our nonprofit legal services providers. For more information, please call (718) 557-1379 or email civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov for connection with free legal services to help you with your case.    

 

OCJ legal services are free and you do not have to be an existing HRA client to apply.

Legal services are available regardless of immigration status.

 

  • New York City Housing Court is currently open for emergency cases permitted by the court, including if you are locked out of your home without a court order, if you need emergency repairs, or if you need critical services like heat or hot water. Emergency cases can be started electronically or over the phone and you can appear without coming to a court building.

    Most other matters, including regular appearances in housing court, will be rescheduled by the court and parties will be notified by postcard.

    For questions and concerns relating to New York City Housing Court operations during the COVID-19/coronavirus emergency, please visit nycourts.gov or call the following emergency Housing Court phone numbers, available between 9:00am and 5:00pm.

    Bronx 718-618-2500
    Harlem 646-386-5409
    Kings (Brooklyn) 347-404-9133
    New York (Manhattan) 646-386-5730
    Queens 718-262-7300
    Richmond (Staten Island) 646-386-5409

OCJ is building New York City's Universal Access to Legal Services initiative, a program to provide all tenants facing eviction in New York City's Housing Court with access to free legal services. Universal Access implements the City's "tenant's right to counsel" law, which makes New York City the first city in the country to ensure that anyone facing eviction in court will have access to legal help. To learn more, please email civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov.

Learn More About

Legal Services for Tenants

Legal Services for Immigrant New Yorkers

Legal Services for Low-Wage Workers

Other Civil Legal Services

OCJ Annual Reports

Read the Office of Civil Justice 2019 Annual Report

Read the Office of Civil Justice 2018 Annual Report

Read the Office of Civil Justice 2017 Annual Report

Read the Office of Civil Justice 2016 Annual Report

OCJ's Universal Access to Legal Services Reports

Read the OCJ Universal Access to Legal Services 2019 Report

Read the OCJ Universal Access to Legal Services 2018 Report

Public Hearing on OCJ's Universal Access to Legal Counsel Program

Read the Transcript of the Public Hearing on OCJ's Universal Access to Legal Counsel Program (November 2019)

Read the Written Statements Submitted for the Public Hearing on OCJ's Universal Access to Legal Counsel Program (November 2019)

Read the Transcript of the Public Hearing on OCJ's Universal Access to Legal Counsel Program (November 2018)

Read the Written Statements Submitted for the Public Hearing on OCJ's Universal Access to Legal Counsel Program (November 2018)