Insight

Landlord Laws, Tenant Moratoriums; Where We Are Now

Landlord Laws, Tenant Moratoriums; Where We Are Now

Adam Leitman Bailey

Adam Leitman Bailey

August 5, 2021 09:38 AM

The Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. landlord-tenant attorneys have been navigating the constant flow of changing laws and Executive Orders under COVID19 to serve tenants with notices and bring tenants to court, getting landlords their rents in spite of the eviction moratoriums.

ADAM BAILEY

These moratoriums, in one form or another, have been at all levels of government, federal, state, and city and all three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial.

Here is an update on the state of the landlord tenant practice in New York State as of October 1, 2020.

Federal Moratorium

The Federal moratorium has small New York impact. On September 2, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control issued a declaration banning evictions in residential buildings. It does not apply where there is equal or greater local government tenant protection. This moratorium expires on December 31, 2020, but as we shall see, for the most part, New York’s tenant protections are greater. The Federal ban only applies to eviction by reason of nonpayment of persons with an income of $99K per year or less. The burden is on the tenant to establish entitlement to the protection.

State Moratoriums

The State Legislature passed two major laws on this. Executive Law 29-a gives the governor the power to suspend laws for no longer than 30 days. However, Governor Cuomo has been using this power without the Legislature’s involvement to modify laws and to create brand new laws for longer than 30 days. At least one judge has ruled this illegal. The other is the “Tenant Safe Harbor Act” (L. 2020 Ch. 127) which was not enacted into the Consolidated Laws, making it difficult to find. This too is a law that Governor Cuomo amended on his own. Under this law, if a residential tenant has a financial hardship during COVID, and raises and proves it as a defense, there can be no eviction during the covered period which is now, by Executive Order, extended through December 31, 2020. This law only bars evictions. The landlord can still get a money judgment and pursue the tenants’ assets.

By Executive Order, the Governor directed, “There shall be no initiation of a proceeding or enforcement of either an eviction of any residential or commercial tenant, for nonpayment of rent … rented by someone … facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic …” However, when the Tenant Safe Harbor Act passed, the governor lifted the restrictions on residential evictions from that order. However, he has continued through December 31, 2020 the restrictions on commercial nonpayment proceedings and for residential proceedings, the restrictions found in the Tenant Safe Harbor Act. This means that you can proceed with evictions proceedings in either Housing Court or State Supreme Court, but in Housing Court your case will be adjourned into 2021 and in State Supreme Court, you can process the case, but cannot yet get an actual eviction until at least January 1, 2021.

The Courts

The Chief Administrator of the Courts has suspended all landlord-tenant cases filed in the New York City Civil Court since the onset of the pandemic. No date has been given when these cases will ever be heard. Thus, New York City Civil Court is not realistically available for any new landlord-tenant cases.

Ejectment Actions, Replenishment Notices, Self Help Evictions

For residential cases, we have been serving rent demands. For commercial cases, we have looked to other provisions in the leases that avoid the Governor’s prohibition on nonpayment cases and have brought those, even though they are ultimately based on the tenant’s not paying rent. Chief amongst these have been provisions allowing a landlord to draw down security for nonpayment of rent and then demand the tenant replenish the security. This sets the landlord up for bringing a case.

DOV TREIMAN

All the cases we bring, we bring in State Supreme Court. These have included ordinary nonpayment proceedings that we have specially adapted, holdover proceedings we have specially adapted, and ejectment actions.

“Ejectment actions” sound unfamiliar to most landlords, but they are centuries old evictions proceedings and are familiar enough to Supreme Court judges that these judges do not look for ways to throw the case out, claiming that it should be brought in the Civil Court. In normal times, they are much slower than ordinary nonpayment proceedings, but in the current crisis, they are much faster and have been getting the case in front of a judge in a month, unlike the year’s delay likely in the Civil Court. These cases have, for the most part, brought the tenants to the table and made them realize that if they are going to stay in business at all, they are going to have to make some arrangements for paying their rent. Some few of these cases are still being litigated in the courts, although we are bringing new ones every week. If need be, we can speed them along with summary judgment motions since the tenants have no legal defenses to paying rent.

When the lease has specifically provided for it, we have successfully utilized peaceful self-help evictions.

Original Article

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.

Related Articles

House Trap


by Heidi E. Storz

Special districts are often being used as profit centers that leave residents to foot the bill. These homeowners deserve protection from unscrupulous developers who attempt to fleece them and avoid accountability.

Special Districts Changing Property Ownership

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers: Real Estate and Infrastructure Publication


by Best Lawyers

Featuring the top legal talent from The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America and "Lawyer of the Year" recipients for real estate and infrastructure as well as thought leadership from some of the nation's top lawyers.

Real Estate and Infrastructure Publication

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Is New Always Better?


by Janice Zhou

The rapid rise of gentrification in major cities leaves residents wondering.

Road facing bridge at sunset

Gimme Shelter


by Janice Zhou

Being able to afford housing in Boston, and other desirable cities like it, is increasingly out of reach for too many. What can be done, legally and politically, to combat the problem?

Housing Shortage in Boston

Great Rebuild


by Best Lawyers

Néstor Méndez discusses labor peace, junk-bond repercussions, and the laudable resilience of those who call this storm-battered island home.

An Interview With Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvare

WATCH: Best Lawyers Discusses COVID-19 & Rental Agreements


by Best Lawyers

Three legal experts join the CEO of Best Lawyers to talk about a general approach to “the rental” market and what happens if tenants can’t pay rent in May.

COVID-19 Panel: Rental Agreements

Impact of Climate Change on Real Estate Law


by Best Lawyers

Dr. Christian Schede discusses rent in large cities, the effect of Airbnb, and more.

An Interview With Greenberg Traurig

Property Rights...and Wrongs


by Chad Cooper and Steven S. Kaufman

Winning a legal battle often boils down to finding and targeting the weakest part of an opponent’s case. Four recent real estate disputes in northeast Ohio are good examples.

Strategies for Real Estate Litigation

Trending Articles

The Real Camille: An Interview with Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez


by Rebecca Blackwell

Camille Vasquez, a young lawyer at Brown Rudnick, sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to talk about her distinguished career, recently being named partner and what comes next for her.

Camille Vasquez in office

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

Why Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos Developed Its Own Legal Tech


by Best Lawyers

Juan Pablo Matus of Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos, 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" award for Corporate and M&A Law in Chile, discusses his firm's joint venture with Cognitiva in creating Lexnova, a legal AI system.

Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos Interview

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: The Best Lawyers Honorees Behind the Litigation


by Gregory Sirico

Best Lawyers takes a look at the recognized legal talent representing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in their ongoing defamation trial.

Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 16th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™ and 1st Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™

Announcing the 2022 "Best Law Firms" Rankings


by Best Lawyers

The 2022 “Best Law Firms” publication includes all “Law Firm of the Year” recipients, national and metro Tier 1 ranked firms and editorial from thought leaders in the legal industry.

The 2022 Best Law Firms Awards

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch – The Future of Legal Talent Looks Bright


by Justin Smulison

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch is launching its second edition in the United States, and after talking with both a company leader and esteemed lawyers on the list, the importance of this prestigious list is evident.

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America 2022

Education by Trial: Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom


by Margo Pierce

The intricacies of complex lawsuits require extensive knowledge of the legal precedent. But they also demand a high level of skill in every discipline needed to succeed at trial, such as analyzing technical reports and deposing expert witnesses.

Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests


by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australia


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australi

Announcing The Best Lawyers in France™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from France.

Blue, white and red strips

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

Announcing The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from the United Kingdom.

The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom 2023