Landlord attorney Bob Friedman discusses the protections for tenants suffering financial hardship as a result of Covid-19.
Good Morning. I am Bob Friedman, Attorney with Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC. Welcome to the September 29,2020 edition of the Legal Survival Channel: Today’s Legal News You Can Use.
We have been providing updates on the various pandemic eviction moratoriums on our Covid-19 Landlord Legal Survival page and the Legal Survival ® channel.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced the Tenant Safe Harbor Act (“TSHA”) will be extended until January 1, 2021 to protect residential tenants from eviction if they are suffering financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This is in addition to moratoriums imposed by the CDC, HUD,the New York courts and Executive Orders.
The TSHA prohibits courts from evicting residential tenants who experienced financial hardship for nonpayment of rent that accrues or becomes due during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. It applies to any unpaid rent accrued between March 7, 2020 and the yet-to-be-determined date on which all COVID-related restrictions on non-essential gatherings and businesses are lifted. The EO also extends the protections of the TSHA to eviction warrants that existed prior to the start of the pandemic.
“As New York continues to fight the pandemic, we want to make sure New Yorkers who are still struggling financially will not be forced from their homes as a result of COVID,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are extending the protections of the Safe Harbor Act through January 1 because we want tenants to have fundamental stability in their lives as we recover from this crisis.”
Governor Cuomo first announced a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions on March 20, 2020 to ensure no tenant was evicted during the height of the public health emergency. The Governor signed the TSHA on June 30,2020 which became effective immediately as well as additional legislation providing financial assistance to residential renters and landlords. Previous EOs have prohibited charges or fees for late rent payments, and tenants facing financial hardship can still use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time.
Earlier this month, the NY moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions and foreclosures was extended by Governor Cuomo by EO until October 20, 2020. This measure extends protections already in place for commercial tenants and mortgagors in recognition of the financial toll the pandemic has taken on business owners, including retail establishments and restaurants. The extension of this protection gives commercial tenants and mortgagors additional time to catch up on their rent or mortgage, or to renegotiate their lease terms.
Additionally, on August 12, 2020 Judge Lawrence Marks signed an administrative order mandating that:
( 1)All commercial and residential eviction proceedings, including nonpayment and hold-over, filed on or after March 17, 2020, continue to be suspended;
(2) Residential eviction cases filed before March 17, 2020, including cases where a warrant of eviction has already issued but not been executed, must be conferenced with a judge before any further action is taken;
(3) Commercial evictions commenced prior to March 17, 2020 may be resumed except for commercial tenants facing financial hardship due to the pandemic who are protected by the EO; and
(4) No outstanding or new residential warrants of eviction may be executed prior to October l, 2020-or in the event of a future state or federal moratorium of evictions –such later dates as set forth by law.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a nationwide order (“Order”) temporarily halting millions of potential evictions through December 31, 2020
For protection under the Order, each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract must provide a declaration form to the landlord stating that they meet the hardship criteria required by the Order.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development also extended an eviction ban on properties with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration through December 31, 2020.
The landlord’s ability to evict a tenant will depend on whether:
- the property is commercial or residential ;
- the eviction grounds are nonpayment or holdover.
- the tenant is suffering financial hardship;
- the time period for which the rent was due;
- the court is accepting filing of the notice of petition and petition; and/or
- the property mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
For further information on this and future changes, see our Covid-19 Landlord Legal Survival page or call us at 716.542.5444Subscribe To Our YouTube Channel