Housing Court Changes Coming

More evening hours and advice to tenants on free legal counsel on notices of petition are among the Housing Court reforms endorsed by NYS Chief Judge Janet DiFiore in her State of the Judiciary speech this week, echoing the recommendations of a Special Commission on the Future of the New York City Housing Court. The Commission also called for more judges, staff, and space, anticipating that already crowded courts would face more delays from motion practice as tenants received more legal representation.

Coincidentally, Mayor de Blasio this week announced a new program of free legal services for commercial tenants.

Still more bad State budget news as details of Governor Cuomo’s 2018 recommendations are revealed: the Governor wants to eliminate the sales tax exemption on energy purchased from ESCOs.

Shola Olatoye, chair of the New York City Housing Authority, testified at a hearing Tuesday that more than 80%, 320,000 of 392,000 Authority tenants, had experienced at least one day without heat or hot water so far this winter. Mayor de Blasio later commented that the City did the best it could with the money it had. Even City Council members noted the difference with how private owners were treated.

And speaking of Council members, it was revealed this week that Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen gave sworn testimony in November that, on housing issues, Council members “are often extremely confused and ill-informed and not that smart.” Well, she was under oath.

The Division of Housing and Community Renewal has issued updated instructions regarding SCRIE and DRIE tenants, including the latest ETPA local income limits.

An analysis of construction worker demographics by the Building Congress released this week says that the workers are getting older, whiter, and more likely to be immigrants.

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