In the landlord-tenant relationship, that is often the landlord, and most clearly so when a petition for non-payment and petition to recover possession of real property is involved (a/k/a/ eviction notice). The landlord’s decision to put someone out on the street in 72 hours is often a last resort due to the financial stress of a non-paying tenant. The tenant generally is already feeling vulnerable because of loss of job or illness that he/she has no concept of how to negotiate for more time or partial payments. The already stressed tenant has another probable disadvantage: the landlord often has an attorney and the tenant does not.
That’s where the Tenant Town Court Program, staffed by attorneys volunteering their evening hours, can help tip the balance. An advocate for the tenant can suggest an extension of time both for back-payments and evacuation date. Giving someone 10 days to find a new place is always better than 3 days.
Attorneys at the Appellate Division, Fourth Department have been helping with these types of situations in Irondequoit Town Court since January 4, 2016. Maureen Gilroy says the experience has been rewarding.
Gilroy negotiated almost four weeks for a tenant to find alternate housing, and Libbie DiMarco reviewed another tenant’s situation, negotiating with the landlord’s attorney for a reduction in back-owed rent and three weeks to find a new place.
“The tenant had no local family, she was originally from out-of-state,” DiMarco noted, acknowledging how harsh a 3-day eviction might have been.
Linda Kostin, Lisa Paine , Alan Ross, Michael Tuohey, Adam Oshrin, Brittany Jones, Craig Peterson, Kristin Dawson Henderson, Joseph Dinolfo, Christopher Larrabee and others have been attending Irondequoit’s Tenant Town Court sessions, helping more than two dozen tenants negotiate a more tolerable outcome than what they faced coming into court that evening.
Written by Nora A. Jones