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Legal Services for Tenants

Legal Services for Tenants Facing Eviction – NYC’s Right-to-Counsel Law

Are you facing an eviction in court? New York City has your back.

Image of a woman looking at an eviction notice on her door. Text says: We'll fight it with you.

Under New York City's Right-to-Counsel (RTC) law, DSS/HRA's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ) provides tenants facing eviction in Housing Court or NYCHA administrative proceedings with access to free legal representation and advice provided by nonprofit legal services organizations from across the five boroughs.

Right-to-Counsel legal services are free, available in every ZIP code, and available regardless of immigration status.

 

84% of tenants who had a lawyer through the Right to Counsel program avoided eviction.

Facing eviction? Call 311 and ask for “Right to Counsel”

You don’t have to face eviction alone.

 

For more information on your rights as a tenant, including answers to questions about your lease or what to do if you are behind on your rent:

Click on the topic below that best describes your situation to find eviction defense and other legal services for tenants through OCJ

I recently received a Warrant of Eviction, or a Motion to Restore/Enforce an Eviction

If you are facing a motion by your landlord to proceed with an eviction warrant against you, OCJ can provide you with free legal services through our nonprofit legal services provider partners under the City’s Right-to-Counsel law.

All tenants who are currently facing eviction warrants are eligible, regardless of ZIP code, immigration status or whether the tenant may have previously declined or been found ineligible for legal representation under the Universal Access program, and regardless of household income under an income waiver by OCJ.

  • Connect with a nonprofit legal provider at your scheduled Housing Court appearance. OCJ’s RTC legal services provider partners are meeting tenants without counsel at their Housing Court conferences and can represent eligible tenants in their eviction cases. For more information on how to appear for court on your scheduled date, visit the New York City Housing Court’s website here or call:

     

    Bronx

    (718) 466-3025

    Brooklyn

    (347) 404-9201

    Red Hook

    (718) 923-8270

    Manhattan

    (646) 386-5500

    Harlem

    (212) 360-4113

    Queens

    (718) 262-7145

    Staten Island

    (718) 675-8452

  • Call Housing Court Answers at (718) 557-1379 or (212) 962-4795 from Monday – Friday, between 9am and 5pm.
  •  

  • Call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline.
  •  

  • Email OCJ at civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov. Please provide a name, telephone number, and Housing Court case index number for your eviction case (if known) in your email.
  •  

  • Contact a nonprofit law office near you. Click here for a list of OCJ’s nonprofit law office partners that provide free legal help for tenants.

I have been locked out of my apartment by my landlord, without a court order or without a warrant

It is illegal for a landlord to evict you without filing an eviction case against you in court or before there is a court order allowing a marshal to evict you.  If you think that you have been locked out illegally, you can file a case (an "illegal lockout" or "Restore to Possession" case) in Housing Court. 

If you think that you have been illegally locked out of your home by your landlord, OCJ can provide free legal services through our nonprofit legal services provider partners to help you with an "illegal lockout" case in Housing Court.

All tenants who are currently facing an illegal lockout by their landlord are eligible, regardless of ZIP code, immigration status or whether the tenant may have previously declined or been found ineligible for legal representation under the Universal Access program, and regardless of household income under an income waiver by OCJ.

  • Call (718) 557-1379 or (212) 962-4795 from Monday – Friday, between 9am and 5pm.
  •  

  • Call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline.
  •  

  • Email OCJ at civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov. Please provide a name, telephone number, and Housing Court case index number for your case (if you have one) in your email.
  •  

  • Contact a nonprofit law office near you. Click here for a list of OCJ’s nonprofit law office partners that provide free legal help for tenants.

I have a pending eviction case in Housing Court (from before or after the COVID-19 emergency began)

If you receive court papers indicating that your landlord is trying to evict you, or a notice from Housing Court scheduling an appearance in an eviction case, you should speak with a lawyer who can advise you on what you need to do next to protect your rights as a tenant.

If you are facing an eviction case, OCJ can provide free legal help through our nonprofit legal services provider partners to provide you with legal representation or other assistance in your case in Housing Court under the City’s Right-to-Counsel law.

Tenants are eligible for legal services, regardless of ZIP code, immigration status or whether the tenant may have previously declined or been found ineligible for legal representation under the Universal Access program.

  • Connect with a nonprofit legal provider at your scheduled Housing Court appearance. OCJ’s RTC legal services provider partners are meeting tenants without counsel at their Housing Court conferences and can represent eligible tenants in their eviction cases. For more information on how to appear for court on your scheduled date, call the NYC Housing Court at:

     

    Bronx

    (718) 466-3025

    Brooklyn

    (347) 404-9201

    Red Hook

    (718) 923-8270

    Manhattan

    (646) 386-5500

    Harlem

    (212) 360-4113

    Queens

    (718) 262-7145

    Staten Island

    (718) 675-8452

  • Call Housing Court Answers at (718) 557-1379 or (212) 962-4795 from Monday – Friday, between 9am and 5pm.
  •  

  • Call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline.
  •  

  • Email OCJ at civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov. Please provide a name, telephone number, and Housing Court case index number for your eviction case in your email.
  •  

  • Contact a nonprofit law office near you. Click here for a list of OCJ’s nonprofit law office partners that provide free legal help for tenants.

I have a termination of tenancy case brought by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)

If you are facing an administrative eviction proceeding, OCJ can provide free legal help through our nonprofit legal services provider partners to provide you with legal advice or other assistance under the City’s Right-to-Counsel law.

All tenants are eligible for these legal services, regardless of ZIP code, immigration status or whether the tenant may have previously declined or been found ineligible for legal assistance under the Universal Access program.

  • Call Housing Court Answers at (718) 557-1379 or (212) 962-4795 from Monday – Friday, between 9am and 5pm.
  •  

  • Call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline.
  •  

  • Email OCJ at civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov. Please provide a name, telephone number, and LID number for your case in your email.
  •  

  • Contact a nonprofit law office near you. Click here for a list of OCJ’s nonprofit law office partners that provide free legal help for tenants.

My apartment needs serious repairs and my landlord won't make them, or I have other questions about my housing situation

If your landlord refuses to fix a serious or hazardous condition in your home, such as mold, peeling lead paint, or a leak, or if your landlord is not providing critical services that you are legally entitled to, such as heat, hot water, gas, electricity, or adequate security, you can file a case in Housing Court (an HP action) to ask a judge to order your landlord to make these repairs.

If you are a tenant and you have questions about harassment by your landlord, repairs in your apartment or building, or your rights as a renter, please call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline, or visit the City's online Tenant Resource Portal for information and access to resources for New York City tenants, including free legal assistance through OCJ’s nonprofit legal services providers partners.

Legal Advice for Tenants – Housing Help Hotline

OCJ has partnered with The Legal Aid Society to offer access to free phone-based legal advice and information for New York City residential renters. 

OCJ‘s Housing Help Hotline is available Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm to provide over-the-phone legal advice and information to NYC tenants in need of help with legal questions about rent, their lease, or other landlord-tenant issues.

For access to OCJ's housing legal advice services for tenants, please call 311 and ask for the City's Tenant Helpline.

OCJ's legal services are free and available regardless of immigration status.