As the New York court system expands operations in coordination with Governor Cuomo’s reopening of various geographic regions, there is concern about the adverse public health consequences that may arise from a sudden high-volume influx of eviction court appearances. Also, there are various restrictions on filing and prosecution of eviction matters still in force under federal statutes, gubernatorial executive orders, and other legal authority. Therefore, the courts have established the following protocol for handling evictions pursuant to Article 7 of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL), effective June 20, 2020:
- Commencement documents in eviction proceedings must be filed with the court only by efiling or mail.
- Until further order, commercial and residential eviction petitions must include two additional documents:
- Landlord’s attorney affirmation (or, for self-represented landlords, a landlord’s affidavit ), indicating that counsel (or the self-represented landlord) has reviewed the various state and federal restrictions and qualifications on eviction proceedings and believes in good faith that the proceeding is consistent with those restrictions and qualifications; and
- A notice to tenants (in English and Spanish), informing them that they may be eligible for an extension of time to respond to the petition in light of legal directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and directing them to a telephone number and/or website link for further information.
- Whether or not an answer is filed in an eviction matter, further hearing of the case shall be stayed until such time as gubernatorial Executive Orders suspending statutory timetables for the prosecution of legal matters (i.e., 202.8, as extended by 202.14, 202.28, and 202.38) expire. This continues the suspension of eviction matters for the time being, except for evictions commenced on or before March 16, 2020 in which all parties are represented by counsel shall be eligible for calendaring for virtual settlement conferences.
- At or before the expiration of the Governor’s executive order suspending statutory timetables, the court will issue further directives on the processing of evictions.