Published on:

Court Disusses Authority of Housing Court vs. Family Court


In New York, there are several different remedies which may be applied in the case of a family dispute. The couple, especially if they are in government housing, may proceed with an illegal lock out complaint to be reinstated to the apartment through the housing authority. However, if a complaint to address these issues has already been filed in Family Court, the Housing Court will generally refer the case back there. Family court has more liberty to pursue different remedies than does Housing Court. In order for a person to get reinstated to an apartment, they must be on the housing authority paperwork as a tenant or co-tenant. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the couple may also pursue a domestic violence case in either Family Court, or Criminal Court, or both. In a case where there are other issues pending in additional courts, Housing Court will generally refer the housing issue to be handled by the other court.

In one case, a man and his wife who lived in a housing authority apartment had a verbal argument one night that was so heated that the police were requested to come to the residence. The wife informed the police that during the argument, her husband had told their children that he was a member of the “Bloods” gang and that women were not to be respected. He told the children that women were supposed to be under the foot of the man. A New York Criminal Lawyer said his wife had a previous order of protection that had been in effect in 1998 and it had barred the husband from the apartment. The police told the man to go out for a walk and cool down. He left the apartment. The police took a police report and left.

The man claims that when he returned, his belongings were out front and the locks to the apartment had been changed so that he could not get back in. The wife claims that she did not put his belongings out, nor did she change the locks. She stated that she obtained an order of protection for herself and the children. That order of protection declares that the husband is barred from the apartment until the hearing of the case in August of 2004. Since there is an order in effect in Family Court that prohibits the husband from going back in to the apartment until after the hearing in August, it is a moot point to have a hearing in Housing Court. Clearly, there is no way that the housing court could overrule the order of Family Court to allow the man to move back in to the apartment before the hearing in August. It is because of this that the petition to allow the man to move back in to the apartment was dismissed.

Co-tenants of the New York Housing Authority are not allowed by law to lock one another out of the apartment. The person who does, must be ready to explain that it was done only to protect themselves or others in the dwelling from violence.

Situations of this nature occur on a regular basis in New York. If the wife had not already gone to family court and gotten an order of protection, it is likely that the Housing Court would have allowed him back in to the home. This couple ultimately filed for a divorce in Supreme Court and all issues were transferred to that venue to be handled. In this case, although there was no domestic violence between the parties, the argument was so heated that the wife and the police feared that it would become physical if the two remained together in the same residence. The domestic violence laws are as much about preventing future violence as they are about stopping immediate violence. Stephen Bilkis & Associates Domestic Violence Lawyers are well versed in the handling orders of protection. Whether you are dealing with drug possession charges, sex crimes, theft or domestic violence, we are here to help. We have convenient offices throughout New York and Metropolitan area. Whether the police were called to your home for a verbal or physical argument, our Family lawyers will help you protect your family from domestic violence.

Contact Information