In these uncertain times, it is understandable that many people are worried about losing their homes due to the pandemic and recession. Each state is taking different approaches toward handling evictions during the current recession and New York is no different.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has extended the State’s Tenant Safe Harbor Act until January 1, 2021 in an effort to protect tenants affected by COVID-19 from eviction. This also extends to cover eviction warrants from before the start of the pandemic. Governor Cuomo has also signed executive orders prohibiting late charges and fees for rent payments, allowing tenants to use security deposits as payments (which they may then repay over time).
This dos not mean evictions cannot be submitted. A landlord may file an eviction, but this executive order bars the case from moving forward. This executive order was originally set to expire on October 1, 2020, but has since been extended to the beginning of 2021 as COVID-19 cases continue.
Knowing Your Rights as a Tenant in New York
In order to qualify for this protection, you must be able to prove that your income has been affected by COVID-19, such as if your previous employer went out of business due to the pandemic or recession. Keep in mind that this order only protects tenants who are threatened with eviction due to non-payment. Evictions for any other reason are still able to move forward normally. Landlords are still able to seek compensation for their lost money or file other eviction claims.
Legally, however, you cannot be evicted in New York until the order is raised. Landlords may still try to evict tenants, however, so it is important to know your rights. Be sure to have proof of how COVID-19 has affected your job or income so that you can build a sturdy case against an eviction claim. Landlords can send an eviction notice, but they must get approval from a legal court in order to evict a tenant, which means evictions will not be dealt with until January 1, 2021 at the earliest. This means that neither landlords nor marshals can force you out of your home. You do not have to leave your current residence, nor should you worry about being homeless during this pandemic.
It is important to keep your landlord updated, as well. Some landlords are understanding and will make a deal with you to avoid filing an eviction notice. It can also help to let them know that you are looking for a job and can repay them once you are earning income again.
Paying Rent During a Pandemic
Although evictions are put on hold, you are still expected to pay rent. Obviously, this can be difficult for tenants whose income has been affected by the pandemic. If you lost your job due to COVID-19, it may be difficult to find another job while paying rent out of your savings.
There are a few sources tenants may turn to in order to help pay for rent. New York’s Human Resources Administration offers an assistance program that can help with rent. This program labeled the “One Shot Deal,” provides a single lump payment that tenants can use to pay rent. Look to other programs in your area for emergency assistance if you find yourself or your family struggling to pay rent.
It is unclear what will happen once the executive order concerning evictions expires. Thousands of individuals and families face eviction warrants that have not yet passed through the court. The hope is that many individuals will find work and replace their income as a vaccine for COVID-19 is created and released. It is still uncertain exactly when this will be, however. Although the executive order has been extended, many New York citizens may still face eviction once this executive order expires and eviction notices are finally able to push through the court system.
The New York government is debating about new bills that offer additional protections for those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Resources for Renters in New York
If you have any further questions or need assistance with your rental agreement, here are few resources:
These are uncertain and nerve-wracking times, but you are not alone. Connect with someone about handling your rent and eviction notices to guarantee that you can stay in your home while weathering the storm of this pandemic.