One strategy you can employ to protect your rights is to ask for a jury trial. Some judges tend to rule in favor of landlords. If you end up in front of this kind of judge, you'll have a harder time convincing him or her of your position. But if your case is explained to six members of a jury, you may have a better chance of prevailing. On the other hand, in boroughs where jurors are more likely to be landlords, or to own co-ops or condos, some juries may not be sympathetic to tenants. Most leases say you waive your right to a jury trial, but if there is a defect in the jury-waiver language, you may be able to get one anyway. You need to request it and pay the fee the first time you go to the courthouse on the proceeding, even if you only talk to a clerk about your case and it isn't before a judge yet. However, demanding a jury can mean that you waive certain arguments only a judge can rule on. So before you ask for a jury, speak to a knowledgeable Tenants' lawyer to see if that's an effective strategy.