Photo credit: Asiraj
New York Attorney General Letitia James issued guidance to remind New Yorkers of the various rights and protections for residents following the expiration of New York’s eviction moratorium on January 15, 2022. Though landlords are now able to start new eviction cases, proceed with existing cases, and issue eviction warrants against some tenants, New Yorkers still have some protections under state laws and access to rental assistance programs to help keep them from losing their homes as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues.
“As New Yorkers continue to struggle with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that individuals are aware of their rights so they aren’t left out in the cold,” said Attorney General James. “Although our state’s eviction moratorium may have ended, the guidance we are issuing today highlights the various measures that are still in place for New Yorkers to prevent eviction and stay in their homes. My office remains committed to protecting New Yorkers, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of New York residents.”
New York state’s eviction moratorium previously stopped landlords from filing new eviction cases and proceeding with pending cases through January 15, 2022 for tenants who signed a hardship declaration. While the moratorium has elapsed, New York state residents can still apply to have their rent arrears paid by the state under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Residents of Rochester and Monroe County, Yonkers, Onondaga County, and the towns of Hempstead, Islip, and Oyster Bay, must apply for emergency rental assistance through their local programs. For more information, including where to file an online application and to find out where funds are still available, New Yorkers are encouraged to visit ERAP’s website.
In her continued efforts to protect New Yorkers and their rights, Attorney General James highlights the following information regarding New York’s eviction protections as of January 16, 2022:
- There is no automatic stay of eviction effective under New York state law at this time. Tenants whose cases were stayed because they had filed a hardship declaration should check with the court to find out the status.
- New eviction cases can be filed without the landlord being required to provide the tenant a state hardship declaration form. Eviction cases that were previously stayed when tenants filed a New York state hardship declaration form can now proceed in court, unless an ERAP application is still pending.
- Eviction proceedings where a petitioner-landlord or respondent-tenant has applied for rent arrears assistance under ERAP will be stayed until a final determination is made on their application by the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Landlords who have received emergency rental assistance on behalf of a respondent-tenant must submit notice to the court where the eviction proceeding is pending.
- Under the terms of New York’s Tenant Safe Harbor Act, tenants who were sued in a summary proceeding under Article 7 of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) for rent arrears accrued from March 7, 2020 through January 15, 2022 may be able to prevent eviction if they suffered financial loss due to COVID-19.
- Landlords may not charge late fees for rent that was due from March 20, 2020 through June 24, 2021 and may not seek these fees in an eviction proceeding.
- Eviction cases that were filed before March 17, 2020 will be allowed to proceed only after the tenant is notified to attend a conference initiated by the court. This applies to all stages of a case, even if a judgment and/or eviction warrant has been issued.
Attorney General James also highlights other tenant protections under New York law, including:
- Landlords must serve written late notices and a 14-day written rent demand before starting any nonpayment eviction case in court. Landlords must also serve notice and bring a court proceeding against tenants whose leases or rental agreements have expired (without a right to renewal).
- If a tenant pays the full amount in rent before the hearing date on the nonpayment petition, the landlord must accept payment and the proceeding must be dismissed.
- Courts have the discretion, for good cause, to stay or vacate a warrant, stay re-letting or renovation of a premise for a reasonable period of time, and restore tenants to possession. Courts also have the discretion to grant an occupant a stay of up to one year by taking into consideration factors such as serious illnesses and extenuating life circumstances.
- It is illegal for landlords to harass or force tenants into vacating their apartments by denying or interrupting essential services or taking other actions interfering with the use of their dwelling. This conduct may constitute illegal eviction under law.
- Landlords may not take self-help action to remove a lawful occupant who has lived in their dwelling for 30 consecutive days or more, without a court process.
Lastly, Attorney General James provides the following resources for tenants who are facing eviction:
- To find an attorney in New York City, please contact The Right to Counsel hotline at 718-557-1379. Those outside of New York City can seek a legal referral through LawHelpNY’s website.
- The New York state court system’s “Coronavirus Hotline” can be reached at 833-503-0447.
- Anyone who is outside New York City can visit the New York state courts’ website to find information on how to answer a petition. In addition, people are also encouraged to contact their local city, village, or district court to find information on how to answer a petition through the court’s directory online.
- Individuals in New York City can also contact Housing Court Answers for help by calling 212-962-4795. Additionally, people can also call the Civil Court’s Housing Court Help Center depending on their location:
- For the Bronx and Manhattan: 646-386-5554 or 5555.
- For Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island: 718-262-7185 or 7186.