If your landlord is attempting to evict you in Housing Court, you will receive a legal document called a petition. In response, you must file a document referred to as an answer. Your initial answer can be the most important element in your entire case for two reasons. First, it is frequently the first thing a judge will look at when examining a tenant's side of the case. Second, if you do not assert all relevant defenses and claims in it, you may lose the right to do so later. If you rely on the Court Clerk to help you fill out your answer, not all of the applicable defenses or claims may be included. The Clerk isn't your lawyer, doesn't have time to analyze your case, and is very busy. Even if you're going to represent yourself, you should at least try to get together the funds for a consultation with a Tenants' attorney, so that this very critical document can be filled out properly from the start. Your case and tenancy may depend on it.