Recent Updates in Eviction Proceedings in New York State Courts in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

On December 28, 2020, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (the “Act”), which effects residential eviction proceedings commenced in New York State Housing Court.

Subject to the below exceptions, the Act effectively stays eviction proceedings that were filed as of December 28, 2020, for a period of sixty (60) days, i.e., until February 26, 2021. The Act also stays matters commenced from December 28, 2020 through January 27, 2021 for sixty (60) days after the filing of such proceedings.

However, there exists a notable exception to the stay of eviction proceedings. In this regard, the stay does not apply to eviction proceedings in which the Petition alleges that the tenant is engaging in conduct that adversely impacts tenants or occupants use of the premises or is creating a substantial hazard (the “Nuisance Exception”).

In addition, the Act also requires that before commencing an eviction proceeding, landlords must provide tenants with a Notice to Tenant and Hardship Declaration (the “Hardship Declaration”). The Court will reject any newly filed eviction proceeding that does not include an affidavit from the landlord acknowledging that the Hardship Declaration has been served on the tenant. The Act also requires an affidavit from the landlord swearing that the Hardship Declaration has not been returned from the tenant, or that the Nuisance Exception applies.

For cases already pending with the Court as of December 28, 2020, the Courts are sending the Hardship Declaration directly to tenants. Should a tenant submit a Hardship Declaration to either the Court, the landlord, or both, the proceeding will then be stayed until at least May 1, 2021.

Furthermore, all predicate notices served on a tenant must include a Hardship Declaration. If no proceeding against the tenant is pending when the Hardship Declaration is provided to the landlord or Court, an eviction proceeding cannot be commenced against the tenant until May 1, 2021, unless the Nuisance Exception applies.

Eviction procedures are changing rapidly during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and as such, the attorneys at Turek Roth Grossman LLP are available to answer any questions.