Met Council on Housing’s free clinic offers tenants assistance with landlord-tenant disputes.
Before you come to our walk-in clinic, please note:
- Please first seek answers to your questions on this website in the Help & Answers section, or by calling our Tenants’ Rights Telephone Hotline. Most questions can be answered on our hotline, and at our clinic we have very limited capacity. The clinic is staffed by one trained volunteer per evening, and often there are a dozen or more tenants seeking help.
- You must arrive by 6:00 p.m. to be helped, and if you arrive late you will be turned away.
- This is an open environment. We all sit around a large table, so your housing matter will be discussed in front of other people. If certain facts about your case are sensitive (such as the exact amount of rent you pay) you can find a way to discreetly share this information with the clinic leader, and we will respect that, but realize that your issue as a whole will be heard by others. We encourage cooperation and collaboration, and we encourage you to stay around when your issue is over to lend support to others or simply to learn.
- Realize the limitations of our service. We will help guide you, but ultimately you need to become your own advocate. We are not a service organization that takes on clients – we are tenant volunteers who are helping other tenants. And while we are trained on the laws and regulations relating to tenants’ rights in New York City, we don’t know everything!
- We only help tenants, and only on issues related to their apartment. The clinic is not open to landlords, and we do not advise tenants on how to pursue evictions (including against roommates or family members.) We can only help on issues related to housing – not other matters.
What services does Met Council on Housing provide tenants who visit our Tenants’ Rights Walk-In Clinic?
We can give brief answers to your rights as a tenant, and explain your options for dealing with a housing situation.
Common questions relate to:
- getting repairs from negligent landlords
- getting adequate heat in the winter months
- dealing with the threat of eviction
- questions about leases and lease renewals
- legal rent increases for rent-regulated apartments
We can also provide referrals to agencies, community organizing groups, and tenant lawyers – either free legal services or private-practice lawyers, depending on your situation.
What we don’t do:
- We cannot give legal advice – we’re trained volunteers, not lawyers. While we can explain your rights and options under the law, we cannot advise you on how to proceed in a legal case. If you know that you need the services of a lawyer, please read our page on finding a lawyer.
- We don’t give rental assistance or provide help with back-rent. We’re a grassroots membership organization, and we don’t have the funds for this. If financial assistance is what you need, we encourage you to read our fact sheet on if you just can’t afford the rent.
- We cannot advocate on your behalf nor do we have any extra pull with city or state agencies. We can give you pointers on how to be an effective advocate for yourself.
- We cannot help you locate new housing or place you in housing – for that, check our website here.
Do you offer legal advice at the Tenants’ Rights Walk-In Clinic?
No. Our tenants’ rights telephone counselors are trained volunteers, not lawyers. We can tell you about your rights as a tenant, your options for solving a problem with your housing situation, and strategies for how to assert your rights. We can educate you about the laws that exist to protect you. However, we cannot advise you about how to proceed on legal matters. Only lawyers are legally permitted – and qualified – to do that.
What languages can you answer questions in?
The Inwood Clinic is done fully is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. ASL is available at either clinic please email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance. We are currently unable to provide interpretation into other languages at this time. If you are looking for tenants’ rights information, our help and answer section is currently being translated into Arabic, French, Russia, Chinese, or Korean.