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HOUSING RIGHTS


Prof. Douglass Seidman
Adjunct Professor of Law

 

Prof. Russell Pearce
Professor of Law,
Edward & Marilyn Bellet
Chair in Legal Ethics, Morality,
and Religion

 

 

 

IN TODAY'S REAL ESTATE and home improvement markets is the gritty daily reality that millions of Americans have to assert their right to habitable housing or face life on the street. In this clinic, students represent tenants who are facing eviction, in non-payment and holdover proceedings in Civil Court and the Appellate Division, and in administrative proceedings before the New York City Housing Authority, a quasi-governmental landlord with its own rules, regulations, and procedures for default. Students spend one day in the Manhattan Housing Court Office of the Legal Aid Society getting and vetting cases.

Working in teams of two, students have primary responsibility for representing clients, most of whom are adults on public assistance with minor children. With housing in New York City at a premium, welfare budgets that don't cover the market rate, and affordable housingwith waiting lists that are estimated to run five years or longer, tenants on the lowest rung of the economic ladder have fewer housing options and less leeway than ever before.

Students begin their lawyering work immediately, they are negotiating with adversary and opposing counsel, appearing in court, and drafting documents. Through it all, students learn discernment and judgement.

The Housing Rights Clinic is only offered in the Spring semester.