Please support my current GoFundMe fundraising campaign. Any funds raised will help me defend my home against my landlord’s attempt to evict me.
This is a crowdsourced legal fund for myself and other SRO tenants who cannot afford to pursue litigation for harassment by abusive landlords in Housing Court.
Like many SRO tenants, I have been fighting my landlord in New York City’s Housing Court for more than two years, without access to any legal representation. The only legal guidance I was able to find was from the Pro Se office of very helpful lawyers in the Housing Court building at 111 Centre Street, the generous help of Room 225 Officers of the Court, and the excellent legal team that HPD provide for free with HPD Enforcement. (Housing, Preservation, & Development)
Unlike Criminal Court, in Housing Court, tenants have no Constitutional right to legal defense in landlord-tenant disputes. Most free Legal Aid societies will not risk this kind of litigation, given the priority and demand to save the majority of tenants they represent from eviction.
Why this fund?
My priority concerns are with SRO tenants: seniors, disabled, retired, fixed income and other low-income earners who suffer abuse by SRO landlords.
Certain SRO laws such as those governing the right to private and individual secure mailboxes, beg reform. If you live in an SRO building, that means you don’t have your own mailbox. Instead, you are given an open slot mail, (open to theft, tampering, returning or removal of your mail). A landlord can decide what you get or not, and more importantly WHEN you get it. In legal disputes with landlords many SRO tenants lose by “default” in Court because they never received their notices to appear or answer a notice. If you don’t appear after two missed hearings they win by “Default” and can evict you by Judge’s Order.
This is a law that demands society take a look and upgrade this law to allow SRO Tenants private, secure mail access like all other tax payers of this nation. It is an inequality in Housing Rights, that this law exists in the United States, segregating SRO Rights from all other US citizens. Mail abuse is impossible to prove because no law requires the USPS to install USPS operated surveillance CCTV where the open slots exist that would help tenants prove mail abuse. USPS said they can install cameras but only with a landlord’s permission.
In cases that are difficult to prove (for example, harassment, which can take many subtle forms), SRO and low or fixed-income tenants facing clever landlord attorneys are forced to self-represent; lacking knowledge of procedural and housing law, making defense impossible. It is widely known reported that in all Harassment cases, virtually no tenant ever wins in Housing Court. It is reputed to be a 99.99% failure rate which is why all the Legal Aid Agencies of our City refused my case.
Your donation will me and others SRO Tenants find lawyers who can then protect their rights and low income homes.
Jule of Arc