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Judgments in Nonpayment Cases


In General
Judgment when Respondent Fails to Answer
Judgment when Respondent Fails to Appear
Judgment based on a Stipulation of Settlement
Judgment after Trial
Non-Military Affidavit

In General

The outcome of a landlord/tenant case is either a judgment, dismissal or discontinuance.

There may be a judgment based upon respondent’s failure to appear, or to answer, after trial, by a stipulation of settlement of the parties or by motion.

The final judgment determines the issues raised in the proceeding and establishes the rights and obligations of the parties. The successful party is also awarded the costs and disbursements of the proceeding.

If the petitioner cannot show it is entitled to a judgment, the proceeding may be dismissed with prejudice and cannot be brought again, or dismissed without prejudice and may be brought again. A case can also be discontinued by the petitioner before the respondent has answered, with permission of the respondent or by order of the court.

A respondent’s answer may contain a counterclaim, and the court may render a judgment on that counterclaim in favor of the respondent, or the counterclaim may be dismissed or discontinued with or without prejudice, or severed.

If the court awards the petitioner a possessory judgment, then a warrant of eviction may issue. For more information click on Warrants.

A final judgment in a nonpayment proceeding generally provides for both a money judgment and a possessory judgment. If the money judgment is timely paid, both the monetary and the possessory judgment are satisfied. If the money judgment is not timely paid, the respondent can be evicted based upon the possessory judgment, and the respondent is still liable to pay the money judgment amount. In some cases the court may also award a non-possessory money judgment, which means that the respondent is responsible for paying the money judgment, but cannot get evicted for not paying it.

The judgment may also contain an award of legal fees to the prevailing party. Generally, each party in a law suit is responsible for its own legal fees, unless there is an agreement or a statute which provides otherwise. If the lease between the parties provides for an award of legal fees to the landlord for the tenant’s failure to perform any agreement in the lease, the tenant also has the same right to collect an award of legal fees for his or her attorney. A petitioner may not obtain possession based solely on the tenant’s failure to pay legal fees.

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Judgment when Respondent Fails to Answer

After a respondent is served he or she may either answer or not answer. If the respondent fails to answer within five days of the service of the notice of petition and petition, the petitioner may, after the respondent’s time to answer has expired, ask the court to enter a judgment. This judgment may be for money if the petition and notice of petition were served by in-hand delivery, otherwise, it will be for possession only.

In most cases, the judgment and the warrant are requested at the same time. A petitioner will contact a marshal, and give the marshal a letter addressed to the court requesting that a judgment be entered. In addition, the petitioner must provide the marshal with a current non-military affidavit. For more information, see Non-Military Affidavit below. The marshal will then submit the papers to the court together with a requisition for the issuance of the warrant. For a list of New York City marshals, click on NYC Department of Investigation.

When the clerk receives these papers, the clerk will review the papers for legal and procedural sufficiency. If the papers are correct, the clerk will send them to a judge for him or her to review. Ultimately, it is up to the judge to order that the judgment be entered and the warrant issued. For more information on obtaining the warrant in a nonpayment case after the tenant fails to answer, click on Warrants.

After the judge signs the judgment, the clerk will issue the warrant to the marshal. The Marshal may then evict the respondent. For more information, click on Eviction.

To learn the procedure for vacating the judgment, click on Vacating Judgments.

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Judgment when Respondent Fails to Appear

If the respondent answers, the clerk will assign the case to a part. On the court date, the respondent may fail to appear. If the respondent fails to appear after the case is called on the calendar the petitioner may ask the judge to enter a judgment against the respondent. This judgment will generally be for money and possession. The judge, or the court attorney, will review the papers for legal and procedural sufficiency. For more information, click on Requirements for a Nonpayment Petition. You will also be required to provide information as to the respondent’s military status. If all the papers are in order, the judge will direct that a judgment be entered. The judgment based on respondent’s failure to appear will usually have a five-day stay of the issuance of the warrant, and the judge may require that the petitioner serve a copy of the judgment on the respondent. The judgment will normally permit the issuance of a warrant. Most petitioners contact a marshal, provide information and/or a copy of the judgment to the marshal and the marshal then files a request for the issuance of a warrant with the clerk. For more information, click on Warrants. Once the warrant issues, the marshal may evict the respondent. For more information, click on Eviction.

To learn the procedure for vacating the judgment, click on Vacating Judgments.

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Judgment based on Stipulation of Settlement

If both sides appear, the case will be ready to proceed. The vast majority of non-payment cases are settled in conferences which may include the petitioner, the respondent, the attorneys of either party, mediators, court attorneys, and at times even the Judge.

If the case is settled, a stipulation of settlement will be written. For more information, click on Stipulations of Settlement. The stipulation of settlement may provide for the issuance of a judgment and warrant if the respondent fails to comply with the conditions of the stipulation. The stipulation may contain requirements for the petitioner to notify the respondent before the warrant may be issued. The stipulation may require the petitioner to make a motion to the court, either on notice or without notice to the other side, before the warrant can be executed. Whatever, the stipulation requires, the conditions must be complied with before the judgment and/or warrant can be entered or issued.

Once the petitioner has obtained a judgment and warrant of eviction based upon the stipulation of settlement, the marshal can evict the respondent. For more information, click on Eviction. To learn the procedure for vacating the judgment, click on Vacating Judgments.

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Judgments after Trial

If both parties appear and a settlement cannot be reached, the case will be sent to a Trial Part for trial before a Housing Court Judge. If the petitioner proves his or her case, the Judge will direct that a judgment be entered after the trial. This judgment will generally be for money and possession. If the petitioner fails to prove his or her case, the judge will dismiss the case.

The Judge may not issue his or her decision on the same day that you try the case. This is called "decision reserved." The Judge may send you a copy of the decision in the mail. However, to be certain, you can call or come to court to learn if there has been a decision. To learn where to go in your county, click on Locations.

The judgment will normally permit the issuance of a warrant. Most petitioners contact a marshal, provide information and/or a copy of the judgment to the marshal and the marshal then files a request for the issuance of a warrant with the clerk. For more information, click on Warrants. Once the warrant issues, the marshal may then evict the respondent. For more information, click on Eviction.

For information about appealing the Judge’s decision, click on Appeals.

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Non-Military Affidavit

In order to obtain a judgment on default, the petitioner must provide information to the court regarding the respondent’s military status. You may be required to file a non-military affidavit setting forth facts as to the basis of the belief that the respondent is not serving in the military, or is not a dependent of someone in military service. This affidavit generally must be less than 30 days old. You may click on Affidavit of Military Investigation to view and/or download a copy of the free Civil Court form. For more information, you may click on Non-Military Affidavit to read the Civil Court Directive on the subject.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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