How COVID-19 Reshaped Tenant Evictions and Landlord Rights in NY

This article will provide guidance on How COVID-19 Reshaped Tenant Evictions and Landlord Rights in NY.  The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted New York’s economy, challenging tenants and landlords. With nonessential businesses shuttered and unemployment rates soaring, the financial strain has made it difficult for tenants to meet rent obligations, putting landlords who depend on this income in a tight spot. This article explores the pandemic’s effects on tenant evictions and outlines the legal avenues available.  Click here to watch our eviction service.

Understanding Eviction Procedures Pre and Post-Pandemic

Traditionally, landlords could evict tenants for various reasons, such as non-payment of rent or lease violations, following a specific legal process that starts with a written notice. New York, known for its tenant-friendly laws, requires adherence to detailed regulations for ending tenancy and initiating eviction. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

The Shift in Legal Landscape

The onset of the pandemic prompted immediate changes to eviction laws. On March 16, NY’s Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks suspended eviction proceedings, a stance further solidified by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s moratorium, initially set until June 2020 but extended to August 20, 2020. This moratorium underwent modifications to specify who it protects while partially lifting certain restrictions. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

Furthermore, the federal CARES Act and the Tenant Safe Harbour Act, enacted to provide financial assistance and prevent evictions for financial hardship during the pandemic, play pivotal roles in offering tenants a safety net.

The Impact on Landlords and Tenants

These legislative changes aim to balance protecting tenants facing financial hardship with landlords’ needs to collect rent. The Tenant Safe Harbour Act, for example, prevents evictions for non-payment during the pandemic but allows landlords to seek money judgments for unpaid rent. This ensures landlords can recoup some costs, albeit not through eviction for non-payment. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

Additionally, modifications to the General Obligations Law permit using security deposits for rent, offering immediate relief to tenants while ensuring landlords can eventually replenish these deposits.

Navigating the New Normal

The pandemic has put small landlords, in particular, under economic pressure, necessitating measures to support tenants in paying rent and thus enabling landlords to cover mortgages and maintenance costs. The CARES Act moratorium and subsequent local government measures provide temporary relief but also pose long-term challenges in recovering the accumulated rent. Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency

The moratorium’s adjustments offer some respite to individual landlords, yet the exclusion of holdover cases—evictions for reasons other than non-payment—highlights gaps that need addressing to prevent further housing instability.

Looking Forward

As New York seeks to recover from the pandemic’s economic fallout, addressing the delicate balance between tenant protection and landlord rights becomes crucial. Strengthening the existing safety net while considering the diverse challenges faced by both parties will be key to ensuring stable housing and economic recovery


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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


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