Committee Reports

Letter to Judge Silver: Proposed Recommendation for Rental Arrears Action

January 4, 2019

The Honorable George J. Silver
Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, Courts within New York City
111 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013

Re:       Rental Arrears Actions: Proposed Recommendation to Hear Part 11 and Part 11C Cases in the Same Courtrooms

Dear Judge Silver:

In 2017, three committees of the New York City Bar Association[1] jointly issued a report to your predecessor, Judge Fern Fisher, about the growing practice of landlords suing tenants in Civil Court—and the ways they exploited quirks in the legal system to win improper judgments (these are referred to as “rental arrears” actions). That report is enclosed. We subsequently presented the report to Judge Cannataro when the Civil Court Committee met with Judge Cannataro in February 2018. The proposals include directing Civil Court judges to review related Housing Court files alongside rental arrears actions, and having clerks denominate these actions as consumer cases (“C”) so that defendants may gain the same protections as those sued over other types of personal debt.

Unfortunately, since the report was issued, our members have noted that landlords continue to take advantage of tenants in rental arrears cases commenced in Civil Court.

We recognize that devising and implementing effective and long-term solutions to the problem of rental arrears cases takes time, and we hope you will see our committees as a continuing resource in this regard. However, we believe there is an appropriate and helpful interim measure that can be taken immediately, i.e., hearing Part 11 and Part 11C cases in the same courtrooms. That way, rental arrears defendants would at least be able to seek representation from Lawyer for the Day programs.

Our committee is continuing to track this urgent matter and seek reform. We would be happy to discuss it further with you. Thank you for your attention.


Shanna Tallarico
Chair, Civil Court Committee



Hon. Anthony Cannataro, Administrative Judge Civil Court of the City of New York
Hon. Jean T. Schneider, Supervising Judge, New York City Housing Court
Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Office for Justice Initiatives


[1] The Council on Judicial Administration, the Housing Court Committee, and the Civil Court Committee.