One piece of advice I can pass on, after representing many tenants and landlords at trial is —– NEVER STIPULATE TO THE COMMISSIONER IF YOU ARE THE TENANT. I have found that the commissioners (not actual judges) who often reside over landlord tenant matters tend to have a landlord bias.
Before having your matter heard before a commissioner, you are required to sign a stipulation for the comissioner. My suggestion is not to sign it. If you do not sign it, your case will be reassigned to an actual judge.