New York’s Premier
Tenants’ Rights Law Firm

Samuel J. Himmelstein

  • Partner


New York, NY



Samuel J. Himmelstein, a graduate of Brooklyn College (1975, Psychology) and the New York Law School (1979, J.D., cum laude), concentrates on individual residential and commercial tenant and tenants' rights litigation, representation of tenant associations and cooperative conversions. Sam has represented thousands of tenants in Landlord-Tenant Court, State Supreme Court, New York Appellate Courts, and before state and city administrative agencies including the Division of Housing and Community Renewal and the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development and the New York City Housing Authority. He has defended thousands of eviction cases, nonpayment of rent cases and handled hundreds of HP proceedings on behalf of tenants in Housing Court. He has represented thousands of tenants in cases seeking rent stabilization status and recovery of overcharges. He has also negotiated countless buyout and relocation agreements for rent regulated tenants. He has practiced in the Housing Units of East Brooklyn Legal Services (1979-82) and South Brooklyn Legal Services (1982-83). He has written two manuals, A Tenant's Guide to Housing Court (1983) and How to Get Your Landlord to Correct Violations (1983) and a manual entitled Tenants' Rights and How to Protect Them, published by the New York City Commission on Human Rights in 1992. He has also served as legal advisor on two pamphlets, A Tenant's Guide to Subletting, Apartment Sharing and Apartment and Apartment Succession (1998) and A Tenant's Guide to High Income Decontrol Under Rent Regulation in New York State (2006). He is a frequent lecturer on the subjects of tenants rights and cooperative conversions, and has been a guest on WBAI's Housing Notebook, WNYC-AM's New York and Company, Tenant Talk, Crosswalks, Tenants and Neighbors, Dottie Herman’s Ask Real Estate, and other television and radio programs, and frequently teaches Continuing Legal Education courses and training sessions for attorneys and community advocates in landlord-tenant law. He is a regular contributor to BrickUnderground, an award winning online real estate publication and has been frequently quoted in the New York Times, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, The New York Law Journal and other publications, and has written articles published in the New York Law Journal. In the summer of 2008 he and William Gribben taught two classes for Housing Court Judges as part of the Judicial Seminars sponsored by the New York State Judicial Institute. In January, 2009, Sam was appointed to a three year term as a tenant representative on the Housing Advisory Council, the official body which screens Housing Court Judge applications and reappointments. In his spare time, from 2001-2015 Sam was a member of the rock band The Love Handles (keyboard and vocals), which played regularly at The Cutting Room and other venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Sam was selected to Super Lawyers in 2019.

Areas Of Practice

  • Individual Residential
  • Commercial Tenant
  • Tenants' Rights Litigation
  • Tenant Group Representation

Bar Admissions

  • New York, 1980
  • U.S. Federal Courts, 1981


  • New York Law School, New York, New York
    • J.D. - 1979
    • Honors: cum laude
  • Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Brooklyn, New York
    • B.A. - 1975
    • Honors: cum laude
    • Honors: With Honors
    • Major: Psychology

Honors and Awards

  • 2021 Top Rated Lawyer by Martindale Hubbell
  • 2019 – 2021 – Selected to New York Metro Super Lawyers

Published Works

  • A Tenant's Guide to Housing Court, 1983
  • How to Get Your Landlord to Correct Violations, 1983
  • Tenants' Rights and How to Protect Them, New York City Commission on Human Rights , 1992

Representative Cases

  • 224 East 18th Street Associates v. Sijacki, 524 N.Y.S.2d 964, 1987, N.Y.City Civ.Ct., 1988022697
  • 1202 Realty Assoc. v. Evans, 481 N.Y.S.2d 208, 1984, N.Y.City Civ.Ct., 1984153219
  • Chen v. Allen, 496 N.Y.S.2d 651, 1985, N.Y.City Civ.Ct., 1986100094
  • Wertentiel v. Coe, 503 N.Y.S.2d 692, 1986, N.Y.City Civ.Ct., 1986132494

Representative Clients

  • Metropolitan Council on Housing
  • New York State Tenant and Neighborhood Coalition
  • The Chelsea Hotel Tenants Association
  • The Embassy House Tenants Association
  • The 600 West 161 Street Tenants Association
  • The 156-775 Riverside Drive Tenants Association


  • New York State Tenant and Neighborhood Coalition
  • Metropolitan Council on Housing
  • West Side Tenants Union


  • Frequent Lecturer, Tenants Rights and Cooperative Conversions

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Lawyers Guild, Member, 00/1976
  • New York County Trial Lawyers Association, Member, 00/1983

Past Employment Positions

  • Housing Units of East Brooklyn Legal Services , 1979 to 1982
  • South Brooklyn Legal Services , 1982 to 1983

Pro Bono Activities

  • Member, Rock Band The Love Handles (Keyboard and Vocals)
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