Legal Assistance

Legal Services for Tenants

Universal Access to Legal Services

The Universal Access to Legal Services law made New York City the first city in the country to ensure that anyone facing eviction in court will have access to legal help. Over the next several years, OCJ is implementing Universal Access in phases, providing tenants across New York City who are facing eviction in Housing Court and NYCHA tenancy termination proceedings with access to free legal services. If you are facing an eviction case, a lawyer can:

  • Explain the details of your case and give you confidential advice
  • Stand up in court for you and communicate for you with judges, lawyers and court staff
  • Raise errors or problems with the landlord's case against you
  • Fight for necessary repairs in your apartment, even if you might owe unpaid rent
  • Help ensure that your rent is calculated correctly and help you to get back rent paid
  • Protect your rights as a tenant

Today, Universal Access is growing in phases, and full implementation will be completed in 2022, when every tenant facing an eviction case will have access to free legal services.

During the first phases of Universal Access, all low-income tenants facing eviction in Housing Court who live in the following ZIP codes have access to full legal representation - a defense lawyer on their eviction case, from the beginning until the end of the case:

Bronx: 10457, 10467, 10468, 10462*

Brooklyn: 11216, 11221, 11225, 11226*

Manhattan: 10025, 10026, 10027, 10031*

Queens: 11373, 11433, 11434, 11385*

Staten Island: 10302, 10303, 10314, 10310*

*new for 2018

Tenants living in these ZIP codes who are facing eviction in Housing Court can access free legal services through any of the following:

  • In the courtroom: legal services are available every day In the Housing Court courtrooms where these cases are heard
  • In the courthouse: at OCJ offices in the Housing Court:
    • Bronx Housing Court - 1118 Grand Concourse, Room 1A
    • Brooklyn Housing Court - 141 Livingston Street, Room 201
    • Manhattan Housing Court – 111 Centre Street, Room 854
    • Queens Housing Court – 89-17 Sutphin Boulevard, Fourth Floor
  • In the community: at nonprofit community legal offices across the City (find the office nearest you)
  • Via email at civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov
  • By calling 311 and asking for "HRA Legal Services"

Other Legal Services for Tenants

In addition to Universal Access, OCJ oversees legal programs that provide free eviction defense legal assistance citywide, offer legal help to tenants, buildings and tenant associations to help preserve their housing and protect against harassment or misconduct, and provide representation and legal advice in a range of housing-related cases.

These legal services are currently targeted in select neighborhoods listed below, but tenants from across New York City can ask for legal assistance through any of the following:

  • In the community: at nonprofit community legal offices across the City (find the office nearest you)
  • Tenant Support Unit: The New York City Tenant Support Unit provides assistance to New Yorkers who may be experiencing landlord harassment, are at risk of displacement, or need to make home-related repairs. Tenant Support specialists conduct proactive outreach in select neighborhoods to assist tenants with accessing important City resources, including free legal assistance. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/TenantSupportUnit.
  • In the courthouse: at OCJ offices in the Housing Court
    • Bronx Housing Court - 1118 Grand Concourse, Room 1A
    • Brooklyn Housing Court - 141 Livingston Street, Room 201
    • Manhattan Housing Court – 111 Centre Street, Room 854
    • Queens Housing Court – 89-17 Sutphin Boulevard, Fourth Floor
  • By calling the Tenant Protection Hotline at 917-661-4505 (M-F, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • Via email at civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov

These services are available subject to eligibility criteria and service capacity. For more information, please contact OCJ at civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov.

Neighborhood ZIP Code
Bronx
Longwood 10459
East Tremont 10457
West Farms 10460
Brooklyn
Bushwick 11206
Ridgewood/Bushwick 11237
Gowanus/Park Slope 11215
Boerum Hill 11217
Carroll Gardens/Red Hook 11231, 11207
East New York 11208
Brownsville 11212
Ocean Hill 11233
Manhattan
East Harlem 10029, 10035
Inwood 10034
Queens
Long Island City 11101
West Flushing 11354
Flushing 11358
Far Rockaway 11691, 11692
Staten Island
Stapleton 10304
Bay Street 10301

Housing-related legal services are also available at the City's Family Justice Centers, which provide comprehensive civil legal, counseling and supportive services for survivors of domestic violence, elder abuse and sex trafficking.

NYC Family Justice Center, Brooklyn
350 Jay Street
718-250-5111

NYC Family Justice Center, Bronx
198 East 161st Street
2nd Floor
718-508-1220

NYC Family Justice Center, Manhattan
80 Centre Street
212-602-2800

NYC Family Justice Center, Queens
126-02 82nd Avenue
718-575-4545

NYC Family Justice Center, Staten Island
126 Stuyvesant Place
718-697-4300

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

Legal services are available for tenants regardless of immigration status.