Bay Ridge Lawyers tackle eviction processes and tenant rights in recent CLE
The Bay Ridge Lawyers Association held its latest Continuing Legal Education (CLE) session on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at Mama Rao’s in Dyker Heights, focusing on the intricacies of landlord and tenant court proceedings.
The event featured speakers Justin Grossman and Thomas Bailey, a pair of attorneys and NYC marshals who shared their expertise on what steps landlords should take after being granted a Judgment of Possession.
The program entitled “Landlord & Tenant Proceedings: Applying for the Warrant of Eviction” covered a series of topics crucial for legal practitioners in the field. It opened with a discussion on applying for a default judgment and a warrant against non-appearing parties in nonpayment proceedings. This includes the request for a final order and when it’s appropriate to seek a money judgment.
“I’ve known Justin now for 20 years,” BRLA President Adam Kalish said. “I now use Justin exclusively for my marshal services. After graduating from George Washington as an undergraduate, Justin went on to St. John’s University Law School, then was assistant to the marshal Norman Katz, was a legal assistant to CitiGroup, and then in 2009 he got his own badge and became a marshal of the city of New York.
“Justin’s counsel, Tom Bailey, is an attorney admitted in New York who has been with Justin as a general counsel since 2013,” Kalish added. “He also is a graduate of the St. John’s University of Law. He is the lead counsel for all of the evictions that are current in Justin’s office.”
The speakers underscored the importance of understanding service requirements which differ between summary proceedings, as per RPAPL 735, and plenary proceedings, in accordance with CPLR 308(4). The case of Jamaica Seven LLC v. Marlon M. Douglas et al was cited to illustrate the rigorous “due diligence” standards imposed by the courts on process servers.
“I’ve been a marshal for around 16 years now,” Grossman said. “My focus is primarily on landlord-tenant law, it is about 90 percent of my practice. It is evictions and the process leading up to evictions. That’s the bulk of what we do.”
In their address, Grossman and Bailey elaborated on the need for an affidavit in support of a request for default judgment. The affidavit must come from someone with personal knowledge, and if out of state, accompanied by a certificate of conformity. They discussed the recent legislative updates, such as the requirement to attest whether the affiant is aware of the pendency of an ERAP application.
Particularly noteworthy was the conversation on affidavits of investigation for all natural persons involved in the proceeding. They highlighted recent rejections in Queens and Manhattan where a statement in a stipulation was insufficient without an accompanying affidavit. They also mentioned the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center’s military verification service, which requires an affidavit for court proceedings and cannot be used to fulfill the dependency clause requirement.
Delving into the “After Trial” phase, the speakers addressed the drafting of the stipulation of settlement, including new requirements from the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA) that dictate the execution date on warrants. They detailed how the HSTPA has altered procedures, such as the notice of eviction now being a 14-day notice, and re-serving notice after a stay of eviction or after 30 days have elapsed from the prior first possible day of eviction.
Grossman and Bailey emphasized the crucial step of serving the notice of eviction, a process now more stringent due to HSTPA revisions. In their comprehensive discussion, they provided insights into what lawyers should inform their clients on the eviction date and how to proceed post-eviction, including handling the respondent’s belongings.
New York City marshals are public officials appointed by the mayor who enforce Civil Court orders, including property seizures and evictions. While marshals are not city employees and do not need to be lawyers, they must be NYC residents or own a business with an office in the city.
The appointment process includes a competitive exam, extensive background check, and training in court procedures. Marshals are independent contractors who earn from collecting a portion of the judgments they enforce and are bonded for public protection. They operate under the oversight of the NYC Department of Investigation.
Lawyers have a deep understanding of the legal system, which can be advantageous in the execution of a marshal’s duties, as they often deal with complex legal orders and situations requiring nuanced understanding of the law. For some attorneys, the work of a marshal can complement their existing legal practice, especially if they specialize in areas such as debt collection, landlord-tenant law, or real estate, where the enforcement of civil judgments is common.
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