In New York City Housing Court, the tenant and landlord can reach an agreement through a "Stipulation of Settlement." This settlement gives you an opportunity to negotiate with your landlord for the things that work best for your situation. 

You can try to reach an agreement with your landlord or their lawyer beforehand, but it could be better to negotiate at court. If you do reach a settlement in advance, write it down and bring a copy on your first court date.

When the tenant, landlord, and judge sign the agreement, each party has to do everything that they promised. 

Reaching a settlement with your landlord or their lawyer

Before you talk with your landlord or their lawyer, keep in mind:

  • You will be negotiating. Brainstorm what you would like to talk about and what you need. 
  • Be prepared. Bring proof of the rent you have paid and photos of repairs you need.
  • Have an idea of what you owe and what deadlines you can meet for paying rent, so that you can set a realistic schedule with your landlord.

When you arrive at housing court:

  • If you need a translator or have a disability, ask the housing court clerk for help.
  • To write down your agreement, get the court's stipulation form. Do not use the one from the landlord's lawyer.

When you talk with your landlord or their lawyer, keep in mind:

  • You might talk in the court hallway, which can be busy and crowded. Even if you feel rushed, it is important to take your time. 
  • Get help from the court attorney if you are confused or feel pressured. Do not get legal advice from the landlord's lawyer. They are not on your side.
  • You can state what you need fixed or any other problems that you wrote about in your Answer. If they refuse to discuss this, get help from a court attorney.  
  • You do not have to agree to anything that you don’t feel comfortable with. You cannot be forced to settle. 

Before you sign, make sure you read the entire agreement and understand it because once you sign, you are required to follow everything or you can get evicted. So, double check that the following is in your stipulation:

  • Clear explanation of the payments you owe and the deadlines for paying current and back rent. 
  • Permission for more time if you agree to move by a certain date.
  • If the landlord agreed to reduce or waive your rent, write in the amounts and time periods. 
  • What repairs are needed and when they'll be fixed. You can also ask for an "abatement," which means you will not pay rent until the repairs are done.
  • Language that allows you to ask the court for more time.
  • Language for removing the judgment from your record when paid.
  • If you're getting rent money from the Department of Social Services, include that in the stipulation.

After you sign:

  • Keep a copy of the stipulation. 
  • If you realize that you want to make changes after signing, you can go back to court and file an Order to Show Cause. 
  • Do not pay late or legal fees unless a judge orders you.
  • If you request for more time and it is denied, you might be evicted. Keep your promises in the stipulation.
  • Meet all of the deadlines you set in the stipulation. This could include when you agreed to make rent payments or when you agreed to move.
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Last Reviewed: March 27, 2024