1. Contact the DHCR to inquire about your apartment rental history and legal status.
  2. Know your legal rights — visit the Research Page to follow useful links.
  3. Keep a record of all rent payments (e.g., canceled check, money order, etc.).
  4. Send any and all correspondence that could be used in court via USPS certified mail. Your (spoken) word — or anyone else's for that matter — means nothing in a court of law, but burden of proof in the form of written and certified documentation will back you up every time.
  5. Legal actions are always timely. Keep your documents organized, so that at a moment's notice you are prepared to respond quickly to any potential action.
  6. Review everything. Dot your i's and cross your t's to mitigate the risk of your landlord's attorney's attempt to dismiss a case based on the technicalities of clerical errors.
  7. Never, ever assume that just because "someone said so," it is correct. Until you verify information for yourself, consider it heresay.
  8. If you are overwhelmed with a legal situation, get an attorney. The money you might try to save by foregoing an attorney could cost you your home in the long run.
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