Landlord-Tenant during COVID-19
COVID-19 has led to millions in New York losing their jobs, either temporarily until restrictions are lifted or indefinitely because of businesses being forced to shut their doors, unable to pay employees. This has placed significant strain on all those who make monthly payments for housing, whether it is a rent or a mortgage payment.
In order to help those affected by the pandemic, Governor Cuomo announced on March 20, 2020 a 90 day stay on evictions, meaning that no tenants can be evicted until at least June 20th. Cuomo’s order also placed all pending evictions and orders in housing court on hold and are suspended until further notice. While this gives a reprieve to tenants, it can also place a significant strain on the landlords who were already processing eviction proceedings or those who were going to be beginning proceedings against tenants who had not been making payments.
While the order protects tenants from being evicted, but it does not mean that they are exempt from having to pay rent. Those tenants who find themselves unable to make their usual rent payments should not only contact your landlord to inform them of the situation, but also reach out to our office to also speak with an attorney regarding your situation. Our attorneys are here to discuss your concerns surrounding the pandemic, whether you are a tenant unable to pay your rent or a landlord whose tenants have either not been able to or are refusing to pay.
It is important to know that while the courts are mostly shut down at the moment, they are open for essential and emergency court proceedings. In regard to housing court where landlord-tenant transactions take place, there are a few different transactions that will be accepted in the court while filing is limited. If an application needs to be filed that addresses serious code violations or serious repair orders, the court will allow the papers to be filed. Also, if a tenant is currently experiencing a landlord lockout, the court will allow applications.
Hearing these types of applications will still not be in the usual way that most are used to, the courts have moved almost all conferences to over video or phone call in order to reduce physical interaction between parties and encouraging further social distancing. These applications named above are currently the only ones being heard in housing court, but as the list begins to expand and the courts begin to open up, we will make sure to post the updates as well. If you are currently experiencing one of the situations discussed above, call our office now to discuss filing an emergency application for relief while the courts are still only hearing limited causes of action.
If you are concerned about bringing an action once the courts open back up to all types of filings, we can begin working on the action now and preparing the papers so that as soon as we are able, our office can file the papers with the court for you. This might be to bring an action against a tenant who had already not been paying rent prior to any orders being passed in New York and who would’ve been brought to an eviction had the shut-down not happened.