On May 4, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill passed by the New York State legislature extending to August 31, 2021 the existing eviction moratorium for residential tenants and independently owned small businesses with 50 or less employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The law also extends the temporary stay on foreclosures of properties owned by residential home owners and small landlords.
The eviction and foreclosure protections afforded by both the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (which was signed into law on December 28, 2020) (“Residential Moratorium Law”) and the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021 (which was signed into law on March 9, 2021) (“Commercial Moratorium Law” and, collectively with the Residential Moratorium Law, the “Laws”) originally expired on May 1, 2021 and have now been extended to August 31, 2021 (with retroactive effect to the original expiration date).
The Residential Moratorium Law is intended to protect families suffering from pandemic-related hardship from being evicted from or foreclosed out of their homes during the pandemic, which could exacerbate the current public health emergency. The Commercial Moratorium Law is meant to provide eviction and foreclosure protection for small businesses so they can survive the pandemic, which has caused a steep reduction in business and drop in revenues for most small businesses in New York. Some of the material features of the Laws include:
- a temporary stay on most residential and small business tenant evictions for at least 60 days, as long as the tenant submits a form declaring financial hardship and/or job loss because of the pandemic;
- a stay on foreclosures for residential homeowners and landlords with 10 or fewer units if they submit a hardship declaration form;
- a stay of eviction proceedings already in process; and
- a stay of the execution of judgements for up to 60 days and a prohibition on filing new eviction proceedings or foreclosure proceedings until the moratorium expires without providing the tenant or mortgagor an opportunity to submit a hardship declaration that will stay the proceedings.
Groups representing landlords are expected to continue to attempt to challenge the Laws. The Laws do not, however, (a) require forgiveness of rent or mortgage payments and (b) do not stay eviction actions against tenants who cause safety concerns or unreasonably infringe on other tenants’ use and enjoyment of a building. According to Governor Cuomo, the purpose of the extension of the Laws is to “help to ensure that vulnerable New Yorkers and business owners who are facing eviction through no fault of their own are able to keep their homes and businesses as we continue on the road to recovery and begin to build back our economy better than it was before.”
We will continue to monitor this legislation and related efforts and provide updates.