A new study from the Housing Crisis Research Collaborative at the NYU Furman Center analyzes Non-Answers and Default Judgments in Non-Payment Eviction Cases across New York State from 2016-2022. Since most eviction filings in New York State are non-payment cases, the study focuses on non-payment cases (those filed for non-payment of rent) rather than holdover cases (those filed for any other reason, such as lease violations).
The study found that pre-pandemic answer rates in New York City were around 50%, and were around 60% in the rest of New York State. During the pandemic, these rates flipped, with renters within New York City responding to filings around 60% of the time, compared with around 50% throughout the rest of the state.
The study also found that the universal access to counsel program in New York City reduced both non-answer rates and the likelihood that a non-answer results in a default judgment. These findings suggest that the availability of legal resources once in court may increase tenants’ answer rates and that the potential for representation may change landlords’ calculus on whether to negotiate with tenants.