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The File to Compile for Housing Court

The master key to winning at trial is preparation. One of the most important aspects of being prepared is to have all the documents you need to support your position, right at your fingertips when you're in front of the judge. That way you can pull out whatever you require to make or prove a point. You should attend all proceedings with an organized file that includes:

  • any and all documents received from court and the landlord
  • your original lease, subsequent renewal leases, and any attached riders
  • cancelled checks or receipts proving that you paid rent
  • letters you've sent to the landlord, preferably with certified mail receipts
  • photographs of any substandard conditions in your apartment or building
  • receipts for any repair expenses you've incurred
  • a chronological record of all conversations and correspondence with the landlord or building personnel, including names, contact information, dates and times, with as much detail about what was said as possible
  • any documentation from government agencies that may be relevant

In addition to these, add anything else that supports your claims. It's best to organize all records and correspondence in an accordion file, with an index and labeled sections. Then your papers are ready for trial.

Attention New York City Tenants: See these three new pages on protecting your rights that have just been added to the McAdams Law main site:

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