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Stipulations and Settlements

In the Resolution Part, Mediation, or even in the Trial Part, the parties, with the assistance of the Judge, the Judge’s court attorney, or the court mediator, will discuss the case in an effort to reach a settlement. Most cases in Housing Court are settled, meaning the parties come to an agreement, usually called a "Stipulation of Settlement," which is written down and signed by the parties and the Judge.

When you sign a Stipulation of Settlement, you are making a binding legal agreement that must be followed. Therefore, you must be very careful to read the agreement, understand it, and be certain that you will be able to do everything you have promised. The court attorney can explain any details in the Stipulation of Settlement that you do not understand. If you have any questions or doubts, you have the right to ask to talk to the Judge who must approve your settlement.

What a stipulation provides will depend on what the parties negotiate and the facts of the particular case. For more information about settling a nonpayment or holdover case, click on Tenant’s Guide to Housing Court, or Landlord’s Guide to Housing Court.

If you decide to sign the stipulation of settlement the judge will speak you to make sure you understand the terms of the settlement. This is called an allocution. If you do not wish to settle the case, you have a right to a trial before a judge.

If you sign an agreement and then you cannot do what you promised - for example, you cannot pay on time or make repairs on time - you should come to court and bring an Order to Show Cause to request more time. If the other side has not done what they are supposed to do in the agreement, you can also come to court and bring an Order to Show Cause to request help from the court. Click on Order to Show Cause if you want to learn more. A Judge will read your Order to Show Cause and decide whether to grant your request.