One of the enduring shames of the legal system is that over 90% of tenants appear in Housing Court without the benefit of an attorney while over 90% of landlords are represented by counsel. This imbalance of bargaining power results in many tenants, most of whom are low-income, signing agreements [“stipulations”] to pay rent in amounts that are wrong or by dates that are unrealistic. Several years ago, the appellate courts began strictly construing these ill-advised stipulations and evicting tenants who needed more time to obtain the rent from social services agencies or private charities, an often daunting and always time-consuming task.
In Harvey 1390, LLC v. Bodenheim, David put an end to this practice, The Appellate Division narrowed its prior ruling and gave the Housing Court greater authority to extend tenants’ time to make rent payments. The case, which David took pro bono, will allow many thousands of families to avoid eviction and homelessness.