On December 28, 2020, the New York State Legislature passed the Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act. This law extended the moratorium on residential evictions until May 1, 2021. Moreover, any eviction proceeding currently pending or those that are commenced within a month of the effective date of this legislation are stayed for 60 days to provide tenants an opportunity to submit a hardship form.
Under the new law, tenants must submit a hardship form to the Court or their landlord declaring they have suffered financial adversity as a result of COVID-19. There is no income requirement to qualify for protection under this law nor is any proof required to show the financial impact of COVID-19. Rather, tenants must submit the hardship declaration form under oath affirming they have suffered financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic. It should be noted that landlords can still evict tenants who create safety or health hazards for other tenants, and those tenants who do not submit hardship declarations.
This law also extends some protection to landlords. The bill provides protections against foreclosure and tax lien sales to any residential property owner that owns 10 or fewer dwelling units, including their own primary residence. Property owners can file a standardized hardship declaration form with their mortgage lender, local assessor or to the Court. The owner must declare, under oath, a financial hardship that prevents them from paying their mortgage or property taxes because of lost income, including reduction in rent collections; increased expenses; or the inability to obtain meaningful employment.
Furthermore, property owners will be protected from credit discrimination if the owner has fallen behind on mortgage payments on the property at which they reside or because they have received a stay on a foreclosure proceeding at their property. Homeowners will use the same hardship declaration form to avoid credit discrimination based on their mortgage arrears on the property at which such owner resides. The legislation limits these new negative credit protections only to single home residences, co-ops, and owner-occupied multifamily primary residences with one to nine rental units.
On January 27, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the moratorium on commercial evictions until February 26, 2021. This continuation included the moratorium on initiating a proceeding or enforcement of (a) an eviction of any commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent or (b) a foreclosure of any commercial mortgage for nonpayment of such mortgage directed in, most recently, Executive Order 202.81.
Separately, the New York State Legislature approved Bill S471A to establish the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Business Act of 2021. The bill would codify and extend: (a) the moratorium on commercial evictions for New York resident businesses of 50 or fewer employees and (b) the moratorium on commercial mortgage foreclosures for New York resident business of 50 or fewer employees that have 10 or rented or available for rent. This extension would last until May 1, 2021. The bill also requires a standardized hardship declaration be provided to commercial tenants and mortgagors detailing the bill’s protections and requirements. The bill is awaiting delivery to Governor Cuomo for his signature.
If you have any questions related to landlord/tenant matters and evictions contact Gerard Glass & Associates today.