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Answering Petitions

Under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order issued November 3, 2020, any tenant who has been sued for rent and not yet filed an answer in the case against them must do so. The time to answer the petition may have been extended additional days or weeks, but it is important to file an answer as soon as possible to avoid being held in default.

For help answering your case, you can call Housing Court Answers at 212-962-4795. For information on obtaining a free lawyer, visit the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) legal assistance page or call 718-557-1379. You can also reach out to our Housing Court Help Center by phone at the following phone numbers:

Brooklyn/Kings and Red Hook347-404-9043, 9044
Manhattan/New York and Harlem646-386-5554, 5555
Queens718-262-7185, 7186
Staten Island/Richmond718-675-8441

You should include in your answer if the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your health or finances or those of someone in your household and/or if you are in the military or a dependent of someone in the military.

Tenants may use the following three methods to answer their case:

1. E-File an answer on NYSCEF

The New York State Electronic Filing System (NYSCEF) is now available for all Housing cases in New York City. You are encouraged to e-file your answer if you can. But first you must confirm that your case is available on NYSCEF. You can check online to see if your case is in the NYSCEF system at

In preparing your answer to be e-filed, you may use a free Civil Court form, or your own form. You may download a Landlord/Tenant answer form and information sheet. Information to help you answer the petition is available online at

2. Give an oral answer over the phone

To answer orally, you may call your local Court and speak to a clerk who will fill out an answer form based on answers you give to questions. The numbers for each county are as follows:

Brooklyn/Kings and Red Hook347-404-9201
Manhattan/New York and Harlem646-386-5505
Staten Island/Richmond718-675-8455

After the clerk completes this form, they will read it back to you. You must listen to make sure that your answers were correctly taken by the clerk. If anything is not correct, tell the clerk. The clerk will send a copy of the answer to you. You must keep a copy of the completed answer form and have it available for when you appear in front of the Judge.

3. Answer in-person at the courthouse

You can bring a copy of your written answer to the courthouse in-person, but you may not be able to get into the courthouse right away due to health and safety requirements. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO ANSWER IN-PERSON. Not being able to get into the courthouse may not be an excuse for failing to answer. When you answer the petition, you will get a date for virtual conference with the Judge. If you are unable to attend a virtual conference, you may call the Court at the phone number listed at the top of this notice to arrange an in-person conference.

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