The New York State Legislature has adopted legislation that extends the moratorium on residential evictions to more than one year from the initial Executive Order 202.8 in March of 2020, through May 1, 2021. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the new COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 in furtherance of the same, wherein residential evictions, foreclosure proceedings, credit discrimination, and negative credit reporting related to the COVID-19 pandemic are curtailed. An additional feature of the Act sees the extension of the Senior Citizens’ Homeowner Exemption and Disabled Homeowner Exemption from 2020x to 2021, creating an all-around effect of protection for tenants and homeowners from the economic hardship incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The legislation also includes a two-month moratorium on pending evictions. This will then permit residential tenants who cannot pay their rent or secure alternative housing and who are suffering financial hardship or a health-related hardship to file a hardship declaration at any time. The hardship declaration would have to be filed under penalty of law with the landlord, court, or enforcement officer. It would prevent the filing, proceedings on, and execution of any eviction warrant until May 1, 2021. 

The bill language includes a hardship declaration form for landlords to use. This would require that a notice of rights and related information and the hardship declaration form (in size 14 point) be included with any rent demand or notice of petition served on a tenant. The hardship declaration must be provided in the tenant’s primary language. If such a translation is unavailable on the Office of Court Administration’s (OCA) website, it is the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a translation.

However, there is no confirmed provision for examining said hardship form before a court or even against the landlord themselves. The Act also attempts to defend certain property owners from credit discrimination through a hardship declaration form.  This is applicable if the owner has fallen behind on mortgage payments, or has received a stay of mortgage or tax foreclosure, or tax lien sale. This protection would apply only to owner-occupied primary residences with fewer than ten rental units.


On 28 September, Governor Cuomo declared that the State Tenant Safe Harbour Act would be prolonged and maintained until 1 January 2021 to shelter existing residents against displacement throughout the incumbent state of economic distress during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The Executive Order expands the Tenant Safe Harbour Act’s security to warrants for eviction that occurred before the pandemic outbreak and to others that are awaiting evictions other than non-payment but who endure the very same burden.

On 20th  March, Governor Cuomo initially declared a State moratorium on residential and commercial expulsions to guarantee that no tenants get evicted at the public health emergency height. On 30th  June, the Governor signed the Tenant Safe Harbour Act, which had become active immediately, along with supplementing legislation offering financial support to landlords and tenants. In conjunction, prior Executive Orders have excluded fines or penalties for delayed payment of rents. Renters facing economic difficulties may still use their security deposit as payment and recover the same over time.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we asked New Yorkers to protect each other by staying at home. As we fight our way through the marathon this pandemic has become, we need to make sure New Yorkers still have homes to provide that protection,” Governor Cuomo said. This law adds to previous executive orders by protecting the needy and vulnerable who, through no fault of their own, face eviction during a challenging period for New York. The more support we provide for tenants, mortgagors, and seniors, the easier it will be to get back on their feet when the pandemic ends. I want to thank the legislature for passing this important protection for New Yorkers all across the state who need a hand. This is the kind of support that helps us stay New York Tough.”



The Act allows for a moratorium on residential evictions until 1 May 2021 for residents who have undergone COVID-related difficulties. Tenants must request a statement of hardship or a record describing the cause of hardship to avoid expulsions. Landlords can evict tenants who generate safety or health hazards for other tenants and tenants who do not make statements of hardship. 

All residential eviction litigation ongoing on 28 December 2020, which include eviction proceedings instituted on or before 7 March 2020, as well as any residential eviction proceedings initiated on or before 27 January 2021, are to be suspended for a duration of sixty days. Notwithstanding the above, an ongoing or freshly instituted action in which the plaintiff has claimed that the tenant is habitually and unjustifiably engaged in conduct that seriously infringes the use and comfort of other tenants or residents, or poses a significant safety threat to others, may continue to be heard in conjunction with the Act. The requirement of adequate affidavits in the freshly commenced proceedings means that no court would likely grant any petition or other notice of commencement in the case of eviction unless those records contain affidavits as provided by section 5 of Part A of the Act.


The Act also places a moratorium on residential foreclosure proceedings until May 1, 2021. Homeowners and small landlords who own 10 or fewer residential dwellings can file hardship declarations with their mortgage lender, another foreclosing party, or a court that would prevent foreclosure.

Any proceeding for foreclosure of a mortgage that concerns residential real property pending on December 28, 2020, and any action proceeding commenced on or before January 27, 2021, is stayed for sixty days. No court shall accept filing commencement papers in an eviction proceeding unless those papers include affidavits as required. 


The Act prevents local governments from engaging in a tax lien sale or a tax foreclosure until May 1, 2021. Furthermore, at least thirty days before the date on which a  sale of a  tax lien is scheduled to occur, or upon the filing of a petition of foreclosure of a  tax lien,  the enforcing officer or other person or entity conducting such tax lien sale or tax foreclosure is required to notify the owner of the affected property of such owner’s rights. Payments due to the locality are still due.

This act applies to any action to foreclosure on delinquent taxes or sell a tax lien relating to residential real property. This can be held as long as the owner or mortgager is a natural person and owns ten or fewer dwelling units. These units do not have to be in one property or building; however, the owner’s primary residence requesting relief must be included, and the remaining units must be occupied by a tenant or occupied for rent. 

To clarify, real property includes shares in a residential cooperative but cannot comprise vacant and abandoned property. 


Lenders are forbidden from discrimination against the property owner receiving credit unless the owner of the property has been issued a stay of the mortgage foreclosure litigation, a tax foreclosure procedure, or a tax lien on purchases. They are still forbidden from discrimination against the extension of credit if the owner is in arrears and has lodged a statement of hardship with the lender, which will not be negatively reported to any credit reporting agency as per the Act. 


Before May 1, 2021, no court is authorized to issue a default judgment regarding eviction in a residential eviction matter without first holding a hearing upon the petitioner’s motion. In any residential eviction proceeding in which a warrant of eviction has been issued but has not yet been executed, execution of the warrant will also stay until the court has held a status conference with the parties. 

 If the court has awarded a judgment against a respondent on or before December 28, 2020, based on objectionable behavior, the court is authorized to hold a hearing to determine whether the tenant is continuing to persist in engaging in unreasonable behavior that substantially infringes on the use and enjoyment of other tenants or occupants or causes substantial safety hazard to others. 

For foreclosure proceedings, an action of stay is enacted in any circumstances wherein the judgment of sale has not been issued, and the adequate declarations of hardship are submitted to the foreclosing party or a court. This stay is valid until May 1, 2021. If the sale judgment has been issued but not executed by December 28th, then execution stays until a status conference is conducted with the parties. If the hardship declaration is filed, then the  Action stays until May 1st.  


The Act directs local governments to carry over SCHE and DHE exemptions from the 2020 assessment roll to the 2021 assessment roll at the same levels. This means that the to provide renewal applications for the same must be provided by localities to individuals who qualify for larger exemptions in 2021. This may be enacted via electronic or postal mail. 

However, autonomy is provided to localities to specify procedures wherein local assessors may require renewal applications from recipients they believe may no longer be eligible for the exemption in 2021. In furtherance of COVID-19 safety requirements, recipients are not required to show up in person to file their renewal if a renewal is required under any named circumstances. 

COVID-19 poses a historical hazard to public health. Citizens face displacement or foreclosure attributable to the mandatory disease control measures that have shut businesses and schools and induced widespread unemployment around the state. The contagion has also affected court procedures, the accessibility of counsel, plaintiffs’ ability to compensate for representation, and the ability to move freely to courts of law, settlement sessions, and other such institutions. Stabilizing the housing crisis for residents, landlords, and homeowners is imperative for all New Yorkers’ collective good and would help the state tackle the pandemic, safeguard public safety, and lay the groundwork for reconstruction. Therefore, the purpose of these laws is to prevent as many evictions and foreclosures as possible for people who have endured financial distress throughout COVID-19 or who are unable to travel due to the enhanced danger of serious illness or death from COVID-19. 

The law, which had been rapidly signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has been proclaimed as “the strongest [legislation] in the nation to block eviction proceedings.” While, in concept, the goal is to shield tenants from eviction and owners from foreclosure and tax-related transactions, one will also recognize that the unintentional result of the extension of these provisions may have a disparate negative impact on small residential landlords. It should be remembered that the act does not exempt the rental property itself from eviction or tax lien sales if it is not the primary home of the landlord.

Despite the legislation, rent, taxes, and mortgage payments are not canceled despite the legislation, rent, taxes, and mortgage payments. This can render the possibility that the backlog of accrued liabilities can be insurmountable when payable, perhaps leading to bankruptcy. Furthermore, the small landlord remains vulnerable, especially because they are susceptible to enforcement against the real property. 

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1. Governor Cuomo COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (L.2020, c. 381; Act)

2. Governor Cuomo Announces Moratorium on COVID-Related Residential Evictions Will Be Extended Until January 1, 2021, (last visited Jan 8, 2021) 

3. Governor Cuomo Signs the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, (last visited Jan 8, 2021)

4. Answering Petitions New York City Civil Court, ( (last visited Jan 9, 2021)

5. Act, Part A, §2

6. Act, Part A, §§9, 9[5]

7. Act, Part B, Subpart A §§1, 3

8. This is also relevant to authorize the enforcement of eviction under a default judgment

9. Act, Part A, §7

10. As of December 28, 2020

11. Act, Part A, §8[a][i]

12. Act, Part A, §9[2]

13. Act, Part B, Subpart A §§2, 7

14. Act, Part B, Subpart A §8 

15. Senior Citizens’ Homeowners Exemption

16. Disabled Homeowner’s Exemption



December 21st of 2020 saw the passing of the sequel COVID relief legislation. As part of the Bipartisan-Bicameral Omnibus COVID Relief Deal at the end of the year, with one of the largest stimulus packages in history. The provisions under the same require interpretation, especially since the healthcare industry’s ramifications will be momentous. The 5,593-page 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act was voted on and approved on December 21, 2020, before congressional leaders took a break for the holidays. However, the relief bill provides some respite to individuals, businesses, and hospitals and is aimed to lighten the economic strain that the pandemic caused. Consequently, the legislation includes  USD 300 per week in additional unemployment benefits, direct payments of USD600 to individuals, USD 330 billion in small business loans, approximately USD 80 billion for schools, and USD 69 billion for vaccine development and deployment.  The relief bill was included as Division N of a larger legislative package that included government funding and other bills. 


As mentioned, the second round of payments has been authorized to cover the earlier economic-impact relief received in the summer, amounting to USD 166 billion. Households would receive USD 600 for each adult and USD 600 for each dependent, instead of USD 1,200 and USD 500, respectively, in the first round. Mixed-status households, where some people are ineligible noncitizens, would get payments based on the number of eligible people in the households. Furthermore, a point of measurement will be past income from 2018, so that phasing out of individuals with a gross income of over USD 75000 can be begun. This is USD 150,000 for married couples. Consequently, households with income that is too high to qualify or with added dependents may not qualify for full payments immediately but can request the remainder in their 2020 tax returns. 

For workers, a federal unemployment subsidy is available at USD 300 a week. This also includes gig workers and others who do not usually qualify for benefits. The legislation would also extend to 50 weeks the amount of time for which workers may claim benefits through state and federal programs. The measure also provides an additional USD 100-a-week subsidy for workers who have both wage and self-employment income but whose basic unemployment benefits don’t take into account their self-employment income. The cost of the enhanced unemployment benefits is projected at USD 120 billion.


The bill provided USD 25 billion as assistance to tenants for rent, dispended by the Treasury Department by the states’ population. This provision has been enacted alongside an eviction prohibition that shall last until the end of January 2021,  extending the CDC eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021

The safeguards for landlords and building owners mean that they can apply on behalf of tenants who meet the eligibility criteria, which usually refer to those who make less than half the area’s median income. Assistance is prioritized for renter households whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of AMI and renter households who are currently unemployed and have been unemployed for more than ninety days. All financial assistance provided is non-taxable for households receiving such assistance.


Under Division M, the bill provides USD 82 billion for public and private K-12 schools and colleges. It is provided as flexible funding to support the educational needs of States, school districts, and institutions of higher education and the students they serve in response to coronavirus.

USD 819 million  is also supplied to outlying areas and Bureau of Indian Education-operated and funded schools and Tribal Colleges and Universities, not inclusive of  the Emergency  Relief Fund that allows the schools to conduct repairs and improvements as well as addressing learning losses in students who might not be as equipped to cope with the effects of the pandemic 

The Emergency Relief Fund for higher education provides for public, private, and non-profit institutions, depending on the number of students enrolled and including distance learners. Furthermore, an allocation of USD 1..7 billion has been set aside for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and certain other institutions. Specifically, the bill includes USD 11 million for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, USD 20 million for Howard University, and USD 11 million for Gallaudet University.


A major development is that the vaccine distribution funding falls upon Bill’s state and federal agencies. The Department of Health and Human services provide for a basic understanding of what this would entail: USD  73 billion to support public health in terms of research, development, manufacturing, procurement, and distribution of vaccines and therapeutics; diagnostic testing and contact tracing; mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services; child care support; and other activities related to coronavirus. This also provides for USD 20 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority [ BARDA] involved in the aforementioned activity of procuring vaccines and therapeutics.  

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is allocated USD8.75 billion to support federal, state, local, territorial and tribal public health agencies to distribute, administer, monitor, and track coronavirus vaccination with USD 4.5 billion for reserved  State, Territorial, and Tribal Public Health Departments.  USD 300 million is reserved for financing the distribution and delivery of vaccines to high-risk and underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minority populations and rural communities


Increasing numbers of aviation workers will have their livelihood back for at least several months under the new bill, incorporating USD 15 billion to fund wages and pensions until late March. The debt relief package includes USD 1 billion in financial assistance for airline contractor payrolls.

Airline companies received approximately USD 25 billion to finance employees’ pensions and conditions and consented not to slash any jobs in the interim until October 1st under the CARES Act.  Consequently, Section 404 of Title IV in Division N mandates that to receive funding, an air carrier or contractor must [A.] recall involuntarily furloughed employees [B.] provide backpay to returning employee, [C.] restore the rights to the employees that they had before the furlough, [D.] not enact layoffs or reduce pay rates until March 31, 2020 [E.] refrain from purchasing equity security of the entity or the direct or indirect parent company of the applicant that is listed on a national securities exchange until March 31, 2021; and  [F.] not pay dividends, or make other capital distributions, concerning the common stock (or equivalent interest) of the entity until March 31, 2021, The bill also provides USD 2 billion for airports and air travel businesses. 


The bill would provide USD 1 billion in relief funds to Amtrak to help the national passenger railroad avoid further layoffs and furloughs of its workers.  Consequently, the amount meted out is intended to support Amtrak’s ability to operate Northeast Corridor, State-supported, and long-distance passenger rail service, including USD 284.7 million to assist States commuter rail providers in making required payments to Amtrak. Since Amtrak had difficulty in eking back costs due to lost ridership, workers are protected from further employee furloughs, especially since Amtrak is mandated to recall workers as passenger rail service is restored and explicitly disallowed from replacing any furloughed workers with contractors, 

The Transit Emergency Relief Fund is allocated USD 14 billion for operating assistance, not including the amount set aside by the CARES Act tailored to both urban and rural transit agencies based on their operating expenses. The bill also provides USD 50 million and spending flexibility for paratransit providers and USD 2 billion for the bus industry, and USD 10 billion for state highways.


The USD 325 billion allotted to help small businesses includes USD 284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans and expands eligibility for local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters. The bill also includes USD 20 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. It clarifies that gross income does not include any amount that would otherwise arise from the forgiveness of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and adds that deductions are allowed for otherwise deductible expenses paid with PPP loan proceeds forgiven. It must be kept in mind, then, that the tax basis and other attributes of the borrower’s assets will not be reduced due to the loan forgiveness, effective from the enactment of the CARES Act. The provision provides similar treatment for Second Draw PPP loans, effective for tax years ending after enacting the provision.

Title III of Division addresses this matter in detail.  It allows expenses to be made forgivable under Paycheck Protection Program funds as long as they are either [A.] covered operations expenditures which would provide for software and cloud computing payments, other human resources and accounting needs, [B.] covered property damage costs which would entail those costs accrued to property damage from earlier political uprisings not covered  by insurance, [C.] covered supplier costs which entail those expenses a supplier has had to undergo under a contract, purchase order, or order for goods in effect before taking out the loan that is essential to the recipient’s operations at the time at which the expenditure was made, [D.] covered worker protection expenditure which would essentially be personal protective equipment and adaptive investments to help a loan recipient adhere to COVID-19 measures 

The provision allows these loans to utilize the expanded forgivable expenses as long as it is not availed of by borrowers who have already had their loans forgiven.


The bill effectively allows a little leeway from the CARES Act’s stringent measures on the U.S. Postal Service. For example, the STOP Act’s implementation is modified, providing that shipments may be authorized if the Postmaster-General or the Commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol determines that the risk has a slim probability of violating any statutes or regulations. 

The bill provides a loan of USD 10 billion that the Postal Service is not required to repay, as long as the Congress is supplied with information as to its functioning; a plan about its long-term financial solvency must be provided to the Postal Regulatory Commission within 180 days detailing how the Postal Service will use the loan. 


Apart from the PPP levy, the bill would expand the tax incentive to distressed employers who retain workers on the payroll, allowing beneficiaries of such tax benefits to apply based on their 2019 wages; in certain cases, lower-income for 2020 could limit their approval.

This would also extend the tax breaks for wind energy and carbon capture. Controversial in the debate it sparked, the deduction also includes subsidies of meals for business trips.  The erstwhile memorandum issued for employers to defer withholding employees’ share of social security taxes mandated employers to raise withholding and pay the deferred amounts from wages and compensation paid between January 1, 2021, and April 31, 2021, will see penalties accruing from May. However, the repayment period is extended to December 31, 2021, whereinafter penalties and interest on deferred unpaid tax liability will begin to accrue. 

Lower excise taxes on beer, wine, and spirits set to expire on Dec. 31 will be permanently extended, and tax incentives for businesses that invest in low-income areas and hire workers from disadvantaged groups will be extended for five years.

Further Aspects of Division M – Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021

The Bill includes additional funding through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) of USD 23 billion to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. The relief module offers a further USD 22.4 billion in PHSSEF for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment, and prevention to detect and suppress COVID-19. Also, the relief package specifies that, for any reimbursement to a subsidiary of a parent organization, the parent organization may assign some of the requirements of reimbursement onto a subsidiary of the parent institution, including the reimbursements referred to as “Targeted Distribution” by the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS).

The relief package also relates to the Provider Relief Fund’s loss of revenue calculation by stating: That, for any reimbursement from the Provider Relief Fund to an eligible healthcare provider for healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus (including reimbursements made before the date of the enactment of this Act), such provider may calculate lost revenues using the Frequently Asked Questions guidance released by HHS in June 2020, including the difference between such provider’s budgeted and actual revenue budget if such budget had been established and approved before March 27, 2020.”  The inclusion of this provision can significantly help healthcare providers understand the portion of their revenues that could not be measured up to during COVID.


Title I – Healthcare provides for the extension of temporary suspension of Medicare sequestration for an additional three months to March 31, 2021. 

It has been made clear that the bill is only viable until the end of 2021. Consequently, to increase the fee schedules thereunder, there is a transferral of USD 3 billion from the General  Fund of the  Treasury to the  Federal  18Supplementary  Medical  Insurance  Trust  Fund. This allows for a  one-time increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule of 3.75 percent in a bid to support physicians and other professionals in adjusting to changes in the Medicare physician fee schedule during 2021 and providing relief during the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, this only is allowed for one year. 

Additionally, there is an extension of CARES act provisions insofar as the protections afforded to individuals are now valid till March 14th, 2021, rather than December 31st. However, no pandemic unemployment assistance is payable for any week beginning after April 5, 2021. The section also extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to March 14, 2021. It allows individuals receiving benefits as of March 14, 2021, to continue through April 5, 2021, as long as they have not reached the maximum number of weeks, which has increased from thirty-nine weeks to fifty. 

Furthermore, appeals for cases may be enacted at the state level, where authorities are empowered to waive overpayments made without fault on the individual or when such repayment would violate equity and good conscience. Like the previous provisions, the section structures transition guidelines for individuals transitioning between

PUA and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and restricts the furnishing of retroactive PUA benefits to weeks of unemployment after December 1, 2020

Provides for a one-time, one-year increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule of 3.75 percent to support physicians and other professionals in adjusting to changes in the Medicare physician fee schedule during 2021 and providing relief during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Sec. 102. Extension of Temporary Suspension of Medicare Sequestration. Provides for a three-month delay of the Medicare sequester payment reductions through March 31, 2021

 The Bill allows health insurance to hold patients harmless from unexpected hospital costs. This specifies that patients are indeed obligated to pay in-network cost-sharing, [co-payment, coinsurance and deductibles, out-of-network emergency care expenses for that kind of ancillary services offered by out-of-network providers at in-network facilities and out-of-network care provided at in-network facilities without the patient’s informed consent.]  It also mandates that in-network cost-sharing reimbursement for out-of-network unexpected premiums becomes credited to the person’s in-network deductible.

In addition, the relief kit cites the supplier’s criteria for surprise medical billing, discussing surprise air ambulance bills, clarity about in-network and the out-of-network deductible and out-of-pocket limits, discrimination against providers, and another issue. It also  ensures a one-year rise of 3.75 percent in the Medicare medical fee schedule to assist doctors and other practitioners in adapting improvements to the Medicare medical fee schedule during 2021 and to provide relief during the COVID-19 public health emergency, in conjunction with a three-month delay in the Medicare sequester payment reduction by 31 March 2021

Accountability includes increased transparency by eradicating price and quality information gag clauses, direct and indirect compensation for brokers and consultants to employer-sponsored health plans and planners on the individual market, strengthening equity in mental health and substance use disorder coverage, and disclosing pharmaceutical benefits and medication costs.

In case states are struggling with the accumulation of interest on the federal loans taken to pay unemployment, the extension of temporary assistance is valid until March 14th of 2021. The loans allow states with low balances in their unemployment trust funds to delay employer tax increases or other employer surcharges while the economy is struggling.

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1. Title V – Banking: Subtitle A — Emergency Rental Assistance Sec. 501. Emergency Rental Assistance.  Eligible households are defined as renter households who: (1) have a household income not more than 80 percent of AMI; (2) have one or more household members who can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and (3) have one or more household members who qualify for unemployment benefits or experienced financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the pandemic.

2. Title III – Continuing the Paycheck Protection Program and Other Small Business Support

3. sec. 1415 of title 19 U.S.C

4. Sec. 101. Supporting Physicians and Other Professionals In Adjusting to Medicare Payment Changes During 2021

5. Subchapter I—Extension of CARES Act 1Unemployment Provisions 2SEC.  201.  EXTENSION  AND  BENEFIT  PHASEOUT  RULE  FOR  3PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE.

6. Sec. 101. Supporting Physicians and Other Professionals In Adjusting to Medicare Payment Changes During 2021

Rights Of Private Parties In The Wake Of COVID -19

With COVID-19, courts have had to navigate through hitherto uncharted territory. It’s difficult to walk the line between tenant rights and landlord responsibilities, especially considering how hard the pandemic has hit everyone concerned. Consequently, judgments that are issued by the court attempting to signal some clarity and change are to be lauded. 

Recent decisions on landlord obligations also bring into question the obligations of tenants. New York landlords must follow specific state rules, such as complying with security deposit limits and the timeline and procedures for ending a tenancy. Failure to comply leads to costly financial difficulties and legal imbroglios. In the article below, pertinent cases relating to the impact of the coronavirus on creating a ‘livable environment’ will be discussed. 

Landlord Responsibilities

Rental premises are legally required to be kept livable under the ambit of a doctrine called the ‘implied warranty of habitability.’ By this, important repairs must be taken care of by the landlord, as under the Housing Stability & Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA), wherein the warranty of habitability was amended to include a duty to repair. The public areas of a building are also covered by the warranty of habitability. 

Tenants have options at their disposal to ensure that the place they live in is considered habitable. The right to withhold rent is significant in case of an absolutely unlivable situation, as well as the right to repair and deduct

However, it must be noted that livable housing means the rental meets basic requirements and must be free from significant danger. The protection offered by the rental must be reasonable, and minor damage and repair needs cannot be considered a breach of the implied warranty. A minor repair may be annoying or limiting and an expensive remedy, but the responsibility does not fall on the landlord here. A broken furnace is necessary to repair because heat is essential, but ugly wallpaper or carpeting doesn’t fall within the bracket of an essential repair, though it may cost more. 

Case Analysis for Habitable Housing

This concept of landlord responsibility was recently brought forward in the case of 351-359 E. 163RD Street Tenants Association v. East 163 LLC. In this particular case, residential tenants filed an order to show cause in the Bronx County Supreme court to remedy the lack of hot water. By the standards above of the implied warranty of habitability, this would come within that ambit. 

However, the court also ordered the landlord to comply with “all appropriate safety protocols in light of the COVID-19 pandemic”, including wearing gloves and masks, complying with all rules, regulations, and orders related to social distancing, and following the recommendations of the Centre for Disease Control (“CDC”), the NYS and NYC Departments of Health and other health officials, and to take into consideration the health and safety vulnerabilities of the tenants and their household members to the extent the landlord and/or its agents have knowledge. 

This decision is significant, being one of the first from a New York court delineating a landlord’s obligation to follow COVID-19 safety procedures and outlining them as part of the essential repairs of a rental, a category that they wouldn’t have erstwhile qualified for. Commercial landlords may soon follow suit, but the decision identifies the constantly updating matrix of tenant rights. 

Tenant Responsibilities 

The emphasis on tenant rights in the pandemic should not mean the corresponding loss on the parts of the landlords. The case of Anthi New Neocronon Corporation v. Coalition of Landlords is significant, wherein a New York state court ruled on the validity of various COVID-19 Executive and Judicial Administrative Orders. 

The timeline of the case starts from the  May 7, 2020 order issued by NY Governor Cuomo, granting provisions against eviction for a specific set of individuals who qualified for the same on the basis of ‘financial hardship’. On May 20, 2020, the Office of Court Administration for the New York State Courts issued Administrative Order # 45-20, which stayed all evictions generally.

The May 2020 Administrative order issued by the Office of Court Administration for the New York State Courts stayed evictions generally, in contradiction to Governor Cuomo Executive Order 202.28, In light of this, the court held that the order was unconstitutional, countermanding Governor Cuomo’s order by also extending eviction stays to holdover proceedings. In the present case, the underlying action involved a holdover proceeding, the court held that the landlord was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law and a granting of a “judgment of possession” and “warrant of eviction

The decision, however, appears to be an outlier that has been overtaken by the Tenant Safe Harbour Act that expanded the Executive Order by allowing residential tenants to use COVID-19 as a defense in eviction proceedings while also prohibiting landlords from taking possession of their property while COVID-19-related restrictions remain in effect. 

Why Is This Case Relevant?

Tenant responsibilities are equally as important as those of the landlords. Tenants must comply with the provisions of the law and are responsible for violations caused by willful acts, gross negligence, and abuse. Furthermore, an unreasonable denial to allow access to the apartment by the owner is also grounds for eviction, as making repairs and improvements is a necessity required by the Housing Maintenance Code and Multiple Dwelling Law. Tenants are also responsible to respond to owners on legally required notices.  

Additionally, the tenants also owe landlords a corresponding duty of cleanliness. Any tenant is liable for conditions within his apartment to the extent that such conditions are caused by him, by members of his family, or by his guests, and are under his control. When a violation is caused and continued solely by the tenant or those under his control, the onus cannot fall back onto the landlord. 

The above case is significant, as it instills a corollary sense of responsibility that tenants owe to landlords. In the present circumstances, small ‘mom-and-pop landlords’ are not able to make ends meet, and have barely any other means of recourse. Consequently, cases like the abovementioned clarify murky instances of law while also attempting to provide an equal footing for the parties concerned. 

Ultimately, the cases mentioned merely depict uncertainty of the obligations of a private party in a pandemic. The responsibilities on either side of the landlord-tenant dynamic are skewed, and in some cases, courts find that COVID-19 excuses parties from their usual legal obligations, while in other cases it does not. Interpretation of new judgments appears to be the only manner of understanding the changing landscape. 

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“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives” – Foster, William A


1.N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 235-b

2.LT-708-19/BA, 2020 NYLJ LEXIS 1143 (Dist. Ct. Suffolk Cnty. July 15, 2020)

3.Executive Order #202.28

4.Staying evictions for nonpayment of rent for certain tenants in New York until October 1st

5.NY Real Prop Law Chapter 50, Article 7, Section 235-b.

Eviction Of A Tenant: The Coronavirus Quandary

The onslaught of the coronavirus on the New York economy has been devastating for everyone. Nonessential businesses have closed in most states, and new unemployment application numbers are soaring. These economic situations may make it difficult for tenants to pay rent, but it also places a heavy burden on the landlords who rely on rental payments as a crucial source of income. In this article, the effect of the pandemic on the eviction of tenants will be outlined and the options at one’s disposal will be understood

The Background and The Eviction Procedure

Ordinarily, a landlord can evict a tenant for a variety of reasons, provided that the termination of the tenancy occurs before the eviction. However, cause is an essential requirement for a landlord who wants an early termination for a tenancy or who wants a tenant to move out before the rental term has expired. 

The tenant can be evicted early for a couple of different reasons, including not paying rent or violating the lease or rental agreement  The termination happens by way of a written notice given to the tenant by the landlord. Failure to comply leads to the landlord filing an eviction lawsuit with a court. 

New York is a tenant-friendly state and requires the culmination of a tenancy to comply with highly specific regulations that are aimed at particular situations that arise. Depending upon the circumstances, different types of notices and procedures may be provided.  Additionally, eviction regulations in New York depend upon whether the rental property is located within the boundaries of New York City or whether the property is rent-regulated as well. These factors are necessary to consider before entering into a tenant-landlord relationship. 

So, What Exactly Happened?

The timeline of the changing laws implemented in the wake of COVID-19 can be tracked from March 16th, where the NY Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks announced in a memo that eviction proceedings and pending orders in housing court were to be suspended statewide.  Governor Andrew Cuomo later enacted a moratorium on eviction services that was initially supposed to last up to June 2020 but was then extended to August 20th, 2020.  This extension came with a tapering of the categories of individuals who qualified under the order while also rescinding a part of the mandate. 

Additionally, the federal CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The Act provided enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for New Yorkers. This formed the overarching safety net that powers the Tenant Safe Harbour act, sponsored by Manhattan Sen. Brad Hoylman and Bronx Assemblymember, Jeffrey Dinowitz. 

What the Safe Harbour Act is responsible for is to ensure that tenants cannot be evicted for neglecting to provide rent payments during the COVID-19 crisis. Initiated on March 7th, the Safe Harbour Act is held fast until all safety restrictions are lifted in the tenant county as long as the tenant can demonstrate they suffered from financial hardship. 

How do the new rules apply to me?

The unemployment assistance offered to tenants is increased under the CARE Act. This includes but is not limited to the allotted cash payment as offered by the government. Temporary rent assistance or even one-time rent assistance may also be provided under the local governments. As of right now, the 120-day eviction moratorium and cessation of late fees under the CARE act provide the main relief for concerned tenants. 

On a fundamental level, the Tenant Safe Harbour Act prohibits the courts from [A.] issuing a warrant of eviction or [B.] issuing a judgment of possession against a residential tenant or a lawful occupant. However, a condition that has to be fulfilled remains the sufferance of financial hardship by this tenant for the COVID-19 period.

Eviction thus is not an option during the COVID-19 period. However, landlords may still seek and be awarded money judgments for owed [and due] rent. Summary proceedings may be continued to seek these reparations so landlords can recuperate costs as per article 7 of the RPA law. While the Safe Harbour Act itself limits a significant number of tenants who may be considered eligible, landlords thus have a certain modicum of protection, even if it may not be absolutely effective. 

Additionally, the modification to the General Obligations Law now provides that the money deposited as security or advanced on contract or license agreement is to be used to pay off the rent owed to the landlord as long as they both enter into a written agreement denoting consent for the same.  Alongside, relief is to be provided to tenants or licensees in financial hardship upon request. 

The corollary protection afforded to the landlords is the replenishment of the security deposit. This replenishment is to be done at a rate that is one-twelfth of the amount used as rent per month and the payment is to be done 90 days from the date of using the deposit. 

What This Means

One of the hardest groups hit economically are the landlords who own individual or small units. Consequently, the provision of financial assistance to tenants is important, as the economic burden of the pandemic is felt across the divide. A significant portion of effort needs to be directed toward ensuring tenants can pay their rent in order to make certain that mortgage costs and traditional maintenance costs can be borne by the landlords.

Additionally, the CARE Act moratorium neither applies to every residential landlord nor decrees that tenants need not pay their rent. The CARES Act merely accrues the rent to be paid during the pandemic, and the stoppered rent once accumulated cannot be enough to prevent a full-blown eviction crisis. 

Maintaining affordable housing seems almost impossible in the wake of unemployment and layoffs while also requiring landlords to draw on their own savings. The eviction moratoriums imposed by their local governments will have an issue in recouping the losses upon restoration to normalcy. 

The eviction moratorium provided blanket protection until the changes enacted by Cuomo provided some relief to the individual landlord. However, holdover cases have not been addressed within this directive. Considering that a holdover case is brought to evict a tenant or a person in the apartment who is not a tenant for reasons other than simple non-payment of rent, often for endangering tenants or fostering more individuals than in the lease agreement, the lack of address in the extension is worrying. Furthermore, the impact of the changes may also be felt on individuals who struggle with documenting their income adequately. 

Clearly, if New York is to bounce back from this pandemic without spiraling into uncertainty and further housing misunderstanding, the issues in the current safety net need to be addressed. The balance struck between tenant and landlord at this point is fragile and needs all the protection it can get on both sides. 

for assistance serving legal papers

Simply pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all of your process service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all of our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington D.C

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives” – Foster, William A


1. NY Governor Executive Order 202.48 (2020)

2. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Pub.L. 116–136

3. Tenant Safe Harbor Act (S. 8192B (Hoylman)/A. 10290B (Dinowitz))

4. NY Real Prop Actions L § 711 (2015)

5. NY GEN OBLIG § 7-103; NY GEN OBLIG § 7-107; NY GEN OBLIG § 7-108. 

6. The detailed provisions of executive order No. 202.28 was released by Andrew Cuomo on May 7th, 2020