Bill Text: NY A03320 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Amended


Bill Title: Relates to stipulations in summary proceedings to recover possession of real property.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 12-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2021-06-01 - RETURNED TO ASSEMBLY [A03320 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-A03320-Amended.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                         3320--A
                                                                Cal. No. 302

                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                    January 22, 2021
                                       ___________

        Introduced  by  M.  of  A. EPSTEIN, GOTTFRIED, REYES, SIMON, FALL, COOK,
          TAYLOR, GALLAGHER, STECK, JACKSON, FERNANDEZ -- Multi-Sponsored by  --
          M.  of A.  NOLAN -- read once and referred to the Committee on Judici-
          ary -- reported from committee, advanced to a third  reading,  amended
          and ordered reprinted, retaining its place on the order of third read-
          ing

        AN  ACT to amend the New York city civil court act and the real property
          actions and proceedings law, in relation to  stipulations  in  summary
          proceedings to recover possession of real property

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Legislative findings and  intent.  The  legislature  hereby
     2  finds and declares that litigants in cases in housing court parts, espe-
     3  cially  in  the  state's major metropolitan areas, are often self-repre-
     4  sented.  Under these circumstances, and especially  because  the  stakes
     5  for  the  self-represented  litigant in such cases can be so high, e.g.,
     6  eviction from one's home, it is vital to the administration  of  justice
     7  that  the  judges in such parts take all necessary and appropriate steps
     8  to  assure  that  self-represented  litigants   fully   understand   the
     9  proceedings  in which they are involved, any claims or defenses they may
    10  have and the available options in light of those claims or defenses, and
    11  the potential consequences of any agreements they may be asked  to  make
    12  in  the  course  of  those proceedings. Accordingly, it is the intent of
    13  this act that no agreement between the parties  to  a  proceeding  in  a
    14  housing  court  part wherein one or more of such parties are self-repre-
    15  sented may be approved by the court unless the judge  presiding  therein
    16  ascertains  that  the  claims or defenses of each self-represented party
    17  are adequately addressed in the stipulation and  that  each  self-repre-
    18  sented  party understands the nature and consequences of such agreement;
    19  and the judge memorializes such inquiry on the record of the proceeding.
    20  In declaring this intent, the legislature further reminds  all  authori-

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD01938-03-1

        A. 3320--A                          2

     1  ties  responsible  for  designating  the  judges  who preside in housing
     2  courts parts of the importance of selecting or reappointing  judges  who
     3  are  best  equipped, by training, experience and disposition, to preside
     4  over cases where parties frequently are self-represented.
     5    §  2.  Subdivisions  (f)  and  (i) of section 110 of the New York city
     6  civil court act, subdivision (f) as amended by chapter 64 of the laws of
     7  2007 and subdivision (i) as amended by chapter 310 of the laws of  1978,
     8  are amended to read as follows:
     9    (f)  The housing judges shall be appointed by the administrative judge
    10  from a list of persons  selected  annually  as  qualified  by  training,
    11  interest, experience, judicial temperament, ability to handle a caseload
    12  involving self-represented litigants and knowledge of federal, state and
    13  local  housing laws and programs by the advisory council for the housing
    14  part. The list of persons who have been approved by such advisory  coun-
    15  cil, whether or not appointed to such judicial position, shall be deemed
    16  public information and be published in the city record immediately after
    17  such  list  is submitted to the administrative judge.  The annual salary
    18  of a housing judge shall be one hundred fifteen  thousand  four  hundred
    19  dollars.
    20    (i)  Housing  judges  shall have been admitted to the bar of the state
    21  for at least five years, two years of which shall have  been  in  active
    22  practice.  Each  housing  judge  shall  serve  full-time for five years.
    23  Reappointment shall be at the discretion of the administrative judge and
    24  on the basis of the criteria set forth for  selection  by  the  advisory
    25  council  in subdivision (f) of this section, performance, competency and
    26  results achieved during the preceding term, and the  judge's  allocution
    27  of stipulations to self-represented litigants and the judge's compliance
    28  with  section  seven  hundred forty-six of the real property actions and
    29  proceedings law.
    30    § 3. Section 746 of the real property actions and proceedings law,  as
    31  added by chapter 281 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows:
    32    §  746.  Stipulations.  1.  In any proceeding under this article, if a
    33  stipulation is made, on the  occasion  of  a  court  appearance  in  the
    34  proceeding, setting forth an agreement between the parties, other than a
    35  stipulation  solely  to  adjourn  or stay the proceeding, and either the
    36  petitioner or the respondent is not represented by  counsel,  the  court
    37  shall  fully  describe the terms of the stipulation to that party on the
    38  record.
    39    2. No stipulation required to be on the record by subdivision  one  of
    40  this  section  may  be  approved  by  the  court  unless the court first
    41  conducts an allocution on the record that shall, at a minimum, find  the
    42  following:
    43    (a) the identity of the parties and whether all necessary parties have
    44  been named in the proceeding;
    45    (b)  the  authority  of  the signatory to the stipulation if the named
    46  party is not present; and
    47    (c) shall further find:
    48    (i) that the unrepresented party understands that he or  she  may  try
    49  the case if he or she does not agree with the proposed stipulation or if
    50  an acceptable stipulation cannot be negotiated;
    51    (ii)  where the other party is represented, whether the party's attor-
    52  ney inappropriately gave legal advice to the unrepresented  litigant  or
    53  whether  the  unrepresented  litigant is agreeing to the proposed stipu-
    54  lation as a result of undue duress;
    55    (iii) whether the unrepresented respondent agrees with or contests any
    56  allegation in the petition and predicate notices;

        A. 3320--A                          3

     1    (iv) that the unrepresented party is aware of and  understands  claims
     2  or  defenses  he  or  she may have in the proceeding and is aware of the
     3  available options in light of those claims or defenses, especially where
     4  the stipulation provides for a surrender of the  dwelling  unit  or  the
     5  conversion of a nonpayment proceeding into a holdover proceeding;
     6    (v) that the unrepresented litigant's claims or defenses are adequate-
     7  ly addressed in the stipulation;
     8    (vi)  that the unrepresented party understands and agrees to the terms
     9  of the stipulation;
    10    (vii) that the unrepresented party understands the effect of  non-com-
    11  pliance  with  the  terms of the stipulation by either side and what the
    12  deadlines and procedures are for addressing such non-compliance, includ-
    13  ing how to restore the case to the court calendar to obtain relief under
    14  or from the stipulation;
    15    (viii) in all non-payment cases,  including  where  the  unrepresented
    16  party  indicates  that  he or she intends to apply for public assistance
    17  benefits or to a charity to pay rent that is sought  in  the  proceeding
    18  and that the court has determined to be owing to the petitioner, that an
    19  appropriate rent breakdown is included in the stipulation; and
    20    (ix)  that  the  unrepresented party understands the implications of a
    21  judgment against him or her and the legal requirement that the petition-
    22  er provide a satisfaction of judgment upon payment.
    23    3. The court may use a court attorney to conference a case  to  deter-
    24  mine  the unrepresented party's claims or defenses and his or her under-
    25  standing of all available options in light of those claims or  defenses,
    26  or any of the other elements of the allocution required by this section.
    27  However,  such  conference  may  not substitute for an allocution by the
    28  court and, where it is used, the results shall be reported to the court,
    29  which shall note on the record that such conference occurred.
    30    4. Notwithstanding the foregoing, where the court, in its  discretion,
    31  determines  that,  in the interests of justice, inclusion in the allocu-
    32  tion required by subdivision two of this section of one or more findings
    33  described in paragraph (c) of such subdivision is or are  not  necessary
    34  given  the  history  of  the  case,  prior appearances or other factors,
    35  excluding a court attorney conference provided for in subdivision  three
    36  above,  such  finding or findings may be omitted and the reason for such
    37  omission shall be set forth on the record.
    38    § 4. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
    39  have  become  a  law  and shall apply to all proceedings commenced on or
    40  after such effective date.
feedback