Rent Hearings - Rules of Conduct

Prohibited Conduct - Parties, Witnesses, Representatives & Attorneys

Prohibited Conduct. A party, witness, representative or attorney must not:

  • Engage in abusive or profane remarks, sexual overtures and innuendos, disruptive outbursts, applause, protests, disruptive conversation during presentations, speaking out of turn, preventing or attempting to prevent others who have the floor from speaking, or other conduct which disrupts or interferes with the orderly conduct of the hearing. Hearing participants are accountable for their personal behavior and for supporting and encouraging the rights of others to be free from improper or inappropriate behavior.
  • Make personal attacks on the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and/or intimidate or harass other hearing participants. Harassment is misconduct that uses words or actions to covey disrespect for the human dignity and worth of a person.
  • Willfully disregard the authority of the ALJ. This may include refusing to comply with the ALJ’s directions, or behaving in a disorderly, delaying or obstructionist manner.
  • Attempt to influence or offer or agree to attempt to influence any ALJ by the use of threats, accusations, duress or coercion, a promise of advantage, or the bestowing or offer of any gift, favor or thing of value.
  • Initiate a communication with an ALJ before or after the hearing, in order to attempt to influence the outcome.
  • Leave a hearing in progress without the permission of the ALJ (unless for good cause, i.e. emergency, sickness, etc.).
  • Enter any area other than a public waiting area unless accompanied or authorized to do so by an ALJ or DHCR employee. Upon conclusion of a hearing, all parties must promptly exit non-public areas.
  • Engage in abusive, disruptive and disorderly behavior anywhere on Agency premises, including in the public waiting area.
  • Solicit clients, or cause the solicitation of a client by another person on Agency premises.
  • Submit a document, or present testimony or other evidence at the hearing that she/he knows, or reasonably should have known, to be false, fraudulent or misleading.
  • Induce or encourage anyone to make a false statement to the ALJ.
  • Make or cause to be made the photographing, stenographic, video/audio recording or broadcasting of any hearing or other proceeding, whether such hearing or other proceeding is conducted in person, by telephone, videoconference or other remote methods.
  • Consume food during the proceeding and/or rearrange hearing room furniture.
  • Engage in a telephone conversation - electronic devices must be silenced and must not disrupt the proceeding.
  • Bring a firearm or other dangerous weapon to the hearing.

Additional Prohibited Conduct - Representatives

Additional Prohibited Conduct. Representatives, must:

  • Not provide legal advice to the Agency or to a party.
  • Observe the limits placed by statutes and rules on his, her or their authority and conduct.
  • Address legal issues to the extent permitted by law.
  • Be competent to represent the party, and knowledgeable of the facts of the case, statutes, codes and rules that apply.
  • Not discourage a person from seeking legal advice or representation.
  • Communicate proposed offers of settlement to the party.

Penalties for Misconduct


  • Failure to abide by these rules constitutes misconduct. Engaging in such conduct and failing to cease upon request will be grounds for the immediate removal of any disruptive person.
  • A default will be entered against a party who has been removed and the hearing will proceed without them.
  • Any attorney or representative excluded from a hearing may appeal to the Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for reinstatement within seven (7) days of the exclusion. The proceeding from which the representative was excluded will not be delayed or suspended pending review by the Chief ALJ.
  • The standards of conduct required of attorneys appearing before state courts by reason of the Code of Professional Responsibility are equally applicable in hearings in administrative law cases. If an attorney engages in disorderly and disruptive conduct, a transmittal of the hearing transcript to the Grievance Committee may be appropriate.
  • The Chief ALJ or his, her or their designee may, for good cause, suspend or bar from appearing an attorney or representative who fails to abide by these rules and/or lacks honesty and integrity. The suspension may be either for a specified period of time or indefinitely until the attorney or representative demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Chief ALJ or his, her or their designee that the basis for the suspension no longer exists. Factors to be considered in determining whether an attorney or representative lacks honesty and integrity include, but are not limited to, considering whether the attorney or representative has made false, misleading or inappropriate statements to the ALJ. The decision of the Chief ALJ or his, her or their designee under this section constitutes a final determination. Judicial review of the decision may be sought pursuant to Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules.