Evictions Resume in New York
February 17, 2022
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic hardships imposed on tenants in New York State, on September 2, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation that imposed a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions of tenants who have endured COVID-19 related hardships. This moratorium expired on January 15, 2022. With a month having elapsed since the expiration of the COVID-19 moratorium and with no further extensions in place, the stays previously implemented by COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act have been terminated. With a limited exception, a landlord may now seek the removal of a tenant due to non-payment, without regard to the tenant’s claim of a COVID-19 related economic hardship.
That exception involves a tenant’s right to seek assistance through the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“ERAP”). ERAP was designed to provide economic relief to help low- and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability by providing rental arrears, temporary rental assistance and utility arrears assistance. Payments made through ERAP will be made directly to the landlord/property owner and utility company on behalf of the tenant. Tenant applicants will be notified of the amounts paid on their behalf. Households approved for ERAP may receive:
- Up to 12 months of rental arrears payments for rents accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
- Up to 3 months of additional rental assistance if the household is expected to spend 30 percent or more of its gross monthly income to pay for rent.
- Up to 12 months of electric or gas utility arrears payments for arrears that have accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
Participation in ERAP is strictly voluntary. A tenant cannot be compelled to submit an application to ERAP, and a landlord, likewise, cannot be compelled to complete an ERAP application or accept ERAP proceeds. Even though the eviction moratorium has come to a conclusion, certain tenant protection laws, such as ERAP, will provide the tenant with a temporary stay or defense to the eviction proceeding. Therefore, while a landlord may not be compelled to complete the landlord’s portion of the application or to accept the ERAP payment, a housing court may, in its discretion, stay eviction proceedings upon proof from the tenant that he or she has submitted an application for ERAP assistance and the application either has been approved or provisionally approved. In order to be eligible for ERAP assistance, the applicant must meet certain geographic, income, hardship, and eligibility requirements. For additional information on tenant or landlord applications for ERAP assistance, please visit the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Outside of a tenant’s right under ERAP, evictions in New York State mostly have returned to “normal.” The attorneys at Rupp Baase are available to guide you through the eviction process – whether for non-payment, holdover, or objectionable tenants. We also are available to assist with other landlord-tenant matters, such as negotiating commercial and residential leases, terminating leases, providing tenant notices, and judgment enforcement.
Please contact Kyle DiDone for any assistance that you may need with the eviction process.