The LeFrak Organization claims that the courts have failed in their duty to hear housing disputes efficiently and fairly.

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A major New York City landlord is suing the city’s Office of Court Administration and City Court, arguing that landlords are being unfairly burdened by the city’s inefficient housing court.

The LeFrak Organization, which owns over 60,000 apartments throughout New York City, including in the sprawling LeFrak City complex in Queens, claimed in a court filing that the delays that have become routine since the pandemic-era eviction moratorium expired have caused landlords an unfair burden and that the courts have failed at their duty to hear housing disputes efficiently and fairly.

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Landlords have been forced to merely accept the game as rigged and trudge along the nightmarish procedure of Housing Court in the hopes that one day, far in the future, they will be able to retake and make their property economically viable once more,” LeFrak’s complaint reads.

The complaint alleges that the court system has failed to find a way to deal with the backlog of cases that has piled up since the eviction moratorium expired in January 2022. Delays are exacerbated as judges postpone cases to allow tenants to find counsel, which they are guaranteed free of charge under New York’s right-to-counsel laws. Such actions typically result in cases being delayed an additional four months, the complaint states.

When evictions are ruled, landlords can wait “months on end” for an eviction warrant to be formally issued, LeFrak claims, which it argues undermines property rights and deprives owners of their right to “a simple, expeditious and inexpensive means of regaining possession” of their property.

LeFrak’s attorneys asked the Queens County Supreme Court to rule that trial dates be set within three to eight days, adjournments be granted only if a landlord or tenant explicitly asks for one, and that eviction warrants be issued immediately.

The complaint was first reported on by the New York Law Journal. 

The OCA did not respond to a request for comment.

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