Anti-Tenant Queens Judge to Step Down

Housing Court Judge Emanuel Haber, who Tenant reported in September was fighting to keep his $95,000 a year helping landlords prevail over tenants in eviction proceedings in Queens Housing Court, threw in his robe, according to an Oct. 29 story in the Village Voice.The 77-year-old judge has been on the Housing Court bench, serving in various boroughs, for 15 years. According to spokespersons from the City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court and the Queens League Of United Tenants, Haber’s demeanor on the bench has been biased and insulting. The Voice reported that the judge would not comment on the characterizations, although in 1992 he called similar criticisms “outrageous” and “ancient history.”

Queens Housing Court is notorious as having the most anti-tenant judges in the city, and the place where judges who have shown themselves to be openly biased, injudicious, or excessively anti-tenant in other boroughs can find a safe haven. Queens Housing Court judges frequently refuse to enforce the maintenance laws against landlords whose complain of lack of repairs, and refuse to apply protective provisions of the rent control laws in cases before them. It also harbors another long-serving judge well known for being anti-tenant, James R. Greyshaw.

The recent New York Times series on housing focused on illegal renting of substandard spaces to immigrants in Queens in terms that were more reminiscent of the worst of the South Bronx. The times may catch up with the Queens Housing Court.