Office of Residence Life

Handling legal matters

Small Claims Court

Small Claims Courts are a special section of civil courts in every locality in New York State. They are inexpensive and have basic, uncomplicated procedures so that most people can sue without an attorney.

Tenants and landlords can use Small Claims Court to resolve disputes over security deposits and damages or repairs in apartments without incurring major legal expenses. However, there are often delays, postponements and other limitations with Small Claims Court lawsuits.

You do not need a lawyer to represent you in Small Claims Court, and it only costs $10-15 to file a claim for amounts under $3,000. Small Claims cases in Troy are heard in Civil Court, located on the third floor of 51 State Street. Before filing a claim, check with Rensselaer's Student Legal Services.

Mediation services

Mediation programs offer an alternative way to resolve disputes and are an alternative to legal actions in court that are often complicated, expensive and unsatisfactory in their resolutions. Mediators are skilled listeners (often trained volunteers) who coordinate and supervise a discussion in a neutral location between two conflicting parties in an effort to achieve a resolution satisfactory to both parties.

Both parties must agree to the mediation, but the mediators will not force an agreement on either party. The mediators encourage each party to give something up in order to get something in return; that is, the parties should arrive at a compromise. The agreements are written down and signed by both parties as a binding contract.

For more information, please contact the Troy Area United Ministries Mediation Services at (518) 274-5920.

Last modified: Apr 29, 2013