On the court date, be sure to arrive early so that you have time to go through the metal detectors. In the courtroom, you may see many people, including the judge, the court attorney, the court officer, the tenant, and/or the tenant’s lawyer. There will also be a lawyer from HPD’s litigation unit. The court does not assign you a lawyer. You will have to advocate for yourself if you did not hire a lawyer.
At your court hearing, the Court or the HPD lawyer may ask you to sign a preprinted consent order agreeing to fix the violations that the tenant is complaining about. The lawyer may also ask you negotiate an agreement, called a stipulation, with the tenant regarding fixing the violations. If you do not enter into a consent order or stipulation, the case will go to trial before the judge. At the trial, the judge will hear both sides and look at the evidence presented. If the judge finds that there are violations, he or she will issue an order to correct these violations. Consent orders, stipulations, and orders to correct should list the violations that need to be corrected, the dates when you are to access the tenant’s apartment to correct the violations, and the deadlines by which to correct them.