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Make an OATH: Updates on Violation Hearings and Defaults

All about the new default cancellation request deadline and attending hearings during COVID.

The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) has an intimate relationship with the DOB as the enforcer of code rules, providing hearings on notices of violation issued by City agencies. As such, changes to this department affect many in the construction industry who are dealing with violations.

Here’s our quick rundown on a couple of updates you should know:

New Default Cancellation Deadline

According to the most recent Chief Judge’s Order, as of October 1, 2021, those attempting to cancel/vacate a default decision with OATH will have a deadline extension of up to 75 days from the date of default decision to ask the Court to cancel. This is up from the former 60-day deadline, providing an extra 15 days to get things together and submitted.

A default occurs when those in violation miss a mandated court date or fail to file an Answer defending or explaining the violation. This default can be used against the violating party if not vacated.

The court may choose to vacate a default for two reasons:

  • Lack of Personal Jurisdiction/Bad Service: If the violating party was not given the papers starting the case the right way, it is considered bad service on the part of OATH. But you will have to prove the bad service to the court at a special hearing called a "traverse hearing”, and the court may not agree.
  • Excusable Default: This is judged as either the violating party having a good reason to default, or a good defense for the original violation.

If you want to vacate a landlord-tenant case, you can make the court papers you need by using the free DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Form programs. These programs walk you step-by-step through the paperwork you need, and instructions on what to do next. DIY Forms are available for both NYC tenant and tenants outside of NYC.

If you can’t use the DIY Form programs for your particular case, ask your local Court Clerk for an Order to Show Cause.

COVID Service Updates

As of this writing, all hearings, trials, and other OATH operations are currently being conducted by telephone, videoconferencing, online, or mail due to COVID. In-person appearances may be requested, but will only be granted under certain conditions.

In addition, as of September 30, 2021, while some of OATH’s offices have reopened to the public, others will remain closed until at least November 1, 2021. The full details are available in the Chief Judge’s Order.

As a reminder, settling with OATH in these matters is not enough. All violating conditions on building projects must also be corrected and certified as corrected with the DOB through their Administrative Enforcement Unit in DOB NOW.

For assistance with violations, or any other questions, please feel free to reach out to Outsource Consultants.

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