There are typical defenses that may arise in nonpayment of rent proceedings brought against tenants in the New York City Housing Court.


  • The tenant did not receive service of the petition

  • The petition was not served in the manner required by law


  • The tenant(s) are not properly named

  • The petitioner is not the landlord or owner of the building


  • No rent demand was made

  • The tenant tried to pay the rent, but the landlord refused to accept it

  • The rent, or part of the rent, has already been paid by the tenant

  • The monthly rent asked for by the landlord is not the legal rent in the lease

  • The landlord owes money to the tenant due to a rent overcharge


  • Bad conditions exist in the apartment that need to be repaired

  • Illegal apartment

Some of these defenses may qualify as counterclaims that should be asserted in the answer that may entitle the tenant to money damages from the landlord.

Also, the petition itself may have been filled out incorrectly rendering it defective.

If you are a New York City tenant and your landlord has brought an eviction case against you, please contact New York City Tenant Attorney Eric Dinnocenzo at (212) 933-1675 for a free consultation.