Legal Processes & Protections

Housing Court in Albany

In Albany, all housing court cases take place in the Civil Part of the Albany City Court. This court handles evictions, small claims cases (e.g. disputes over rent and security deposits), and other legal issues between landlords and tenants.

How to contact the Court:

Hours of operation are weekdays from 9:00am to 4:00pm (excluding holidays). 

Tips for Appearing in Court

  • Arrive early:
    • Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled court hearing.
    • This will give you time to go through security and COVID screenings at Albany City Hall (and to find the court room). 
  • Be patient:
    • There may be multiple cases scheduled for the same time slot, and your case might not be the first one called.
  • What to wear:
    • Certain clothing is discouraged, or even prohibited, in the courtroom. 
    • Avoid: hats, shorts, revealing or very informal clothing (e.g. ripped jeans, an old hoodie). 
  • Show respect to the judge:
    • When the judge enters the courtroom, everyone will stand up. 
    • If you speak directly to the judge, address them by saying, "Your Honor."
  • Stay calm, and speak clearly:
    • When it is your turn to speak, calmly and clearly explain your situation.
    • Avoid sharing unnecessary details or talking about unrelated issues. 
    • Address the judge, not your landlord. 
  • Ask for clarification:
    • If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification. 
    • Do not answer a question unless you know what it means. 
  • Tell the truth:
    • Lying in court (also known as "perjury") is against the law. 
  • Do not interrupt:
    • Even if your landlord says something you don't agree with, wait until it is your turn to speak. 
    • Never interrupt the judge.

The Eviction Process

Eviction Notices

There are a few types of eviction notices in New York:

  • Demand for Rent: If you do not pay rent, your landlord can give you a 14-day notice called a "demand for rent." This means the landlord may file an eviction against you unless you pay. 
  • Notice to Cure: The landlord must inform the tenant of a problem that will lead to eviction unless it is fixed (e.g. lease violations). 
  • Notice of Termination: For all other evictions, your landlord must give you at least a 10-day notice.

Petition for Eviction

If the problem is not resolved after the tenant receives an eviction notice, the landlord may serve the tenant with a document called a petition for eviction. The petition explains why the tenant is being evicted and sets a court date and time. 

Initial Appearance

In Albany, tenants and landlords have the opportunity to attend a hearing called an initial appearance. During this hearing, the judge will briefly hear from both the landlord and the tenant. If the landlord and tenant are unable to settle the matter, then the judge will set a date for an eviction trial. 

Tenants have the right to ask for an adjournment during this hearing. That means that the matter will be postponed to a later court date, especially to allow the tenant time to seek rental assistance, obtain a lawyer, etc.

Be Aware! Tenants who do not show up to their initial appearance hearing may be evicted by default

Other Hearings or Court Dates

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be other hearings set in the future. Sometimes these are very simple court dates, such as a deadline to submit documentation.

Eviction Trial

During an eviction trial, both the tenant and the landlord will have the opportunity to make their case. Both parties can bring in witnesses and documents.

Most of the time, landlords are assisted by an attorney in court. Tenants in New York do not have the right to counsel, which means that tenants do not get a lawyer appointed to them for eviction hearings.

If you wish to have legal representation in eviction court, see the listing of legal resources at the bottom of this page. 

Warrant for Eviction

If the tenant loses in eviction court, this is referred to as an eviction judgment. After an eviction judgment, the landlord will need to ask the Court for a warrant to carry out the eviction. 

An eviction warrant can be carried out no sooner than 14 days after the judgment. It must be signed by the judge, and it must be given to the Albany County Sheriff for service (your landlord cannot lock you out on their own). 

A landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without a proper warrant, even if they won a judgment in court. 

What If I Can Pay My Rent Now?

If you become able to pay your back rent, you should inform your landlord immediately. If your landlord refuses to cancel the eviction warrant, you should call: 

  • Albany City Court: 518-453-4640
  • Albany County Sheriff: 518-487-5400

Inform them that you can pay your debt, or that you have now applied for assistance. Explain that you wish to cancel the warrant and have your case returned to court. You should then receive a new hearing date. 

View All FAQs

Evictions and COVID-19

The New York State eviction moratorium expired on January 15, 2022

Tenants who have applied for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) are still protected from eviction for non-payment of rent while their application is under review. 

How Can I File a Housing Lawsuit?

Some of the reasons why a tenant may file a housing lawsuit against their landlord include: 

  • Security deposit disputes
  • Seeking damages or reduced rent due to poor living conditions (rent abatement)
  • Discrimination or mistreatment
  • Injuries or damage to property caused by the landlord's actions or negligence

It is possible to file a housing lawsuit by yourself. New York State Court Help offers a free Small Claims Handbook to assist self-represented parties in the court process. However, this can be a difficult and confusing process to navigate without an attorney. 

You may wish to contact the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York for legal assistance and/or representation. Legal Hand is another helpful resource for free legal advice. 

Legal Resources

Albany City Court (Civil Part)

General court information; looking up court dates

New York Courts - Court Help

Free self-help court resources

Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY

Free civil legal assistance and representation

  • Phone: 833-628-0087
  • Address: 95 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12206
  • Visit website

Legal Hand Call-In Center

Free legal advice via call, text, or chat

United Tenants of Albany

General tenant advocacy and assistance; mediation services