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

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
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-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                    January 22, 2021

        Introduced  by  M.  of  A. EPSTEIN, GOTTFRIED, REYES, SIMON, FALL, COOK,
          TAYLOR -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M.  of  A.  NOLAN  --  read  once  and
          referred to the Committee on Judiciary

        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-
    21  ties  responsible  for  designating  the  judges  who preside in housing
    22  courts parts of the importance of selecting or reappointing  judges  who

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

        A. 3320                             2

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

        A. 3320                             3

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