Note: The information, programs and deadlines provided in this article frequently change. To confirm the latest, please visit www.ny.gov.
COVID Rent Relief Program
UPDATE: New applicants will now be able to apply for the COVID Rent Relief Extension Program from Friday, December 18, 2020 through Monday, February 1, 2021. To learn more, CLICK HERE.
The COVID Rent Relief Program provides eligible households with a one-time rental assistance payment. Previously, from July 16 through August 6, 2020, eligible households were able to apply for the COVID Rent Relief Program.
COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act
On December 28, 2020, New York State (NYS) enacted the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act to suspend residential eviction proceedings and foreclosure proceedings if they were pending on December 28, 2020, and commenced on or before January 27, 2021. This provides renters and homeowners with an opportunity to submit a Declaration of Hardship to protect themselves against eviction or foreclosure until at least May 1, 2021.
- Renters can provide a Declaration of Hardship form to their landlords if they:
- Have lost income and are unable to pay increased costs; or
- Are unable to move without significant health risks to themselves or a family member.
- Homeowners can provide a Declaration of Hardship form to their mortgage lender or other foreclosing party if they have lost income, or are unable to pay increased costs due to COVID-19.
To learn more and access the Declaration of Hardship forms, CLICK HERE.
Tenant Safe Harbor Act
On June 30, 2020, NYS enacted the Tenant Safe Harbor Act to prohibit residential tenants from being evicted for unpaid rent that comes due while restrictions on businesses, public accommodations and nonessential gatherings are in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You cannot be evicted for unpaid rent that comes due during the COVID-19 covered period if you have suffered a financial hardship. The COVID-19 covered period is defined as beginning on March 7, 2020 and ending when there are no longer restrictions on businesses, public accommodations and nonessential gatherings put in place by the Governor’s Executive Orders. While you are still responsible for any unpaid rent that comes due during the COVID-19 covered period, only a money judgment can be brought against you, not an eviction.
On September 29, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.66, which expanded the COVID-19 covered period to prevent the execution or enforcement of a judgment or warrant of eviction for a residential property granted prior to March 7, 2020 and through January 1, 2021**. (**UPDATE: On December 27, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.85, which extended the moratorium through January 26, 2021 issued in Executive Order 202.66.
The Tenant Safe Harbor Act:
- Prohibits courts from issuing a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession against you – the residential tenant or other lawful occupant – if you have suffered financial hardship during the COVID-19 covered period.
- Allows you, as a tenant and other lawful occupant, to raise financial hardship during the COVID-19 covered period as a defense in a summary proceeding.
- Allows courts to award a judgment for the rent due and owed to a landlord in a summary proceeding.
In determining whether you have suffered a financial hardship during the COVID-19 period, the court shall consider:
- Your income prior to the COVID-19 covered period;
- Your income during the COVID-19 covered period;
- Your liquid assets (property that can easily be converted to cash); and
- Your eligibility for and receipt of cash assistance, supplemental nutrition assistance program, supplemental security income, the NYS disability program, the home energy assistance program, or unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law.
Moratorium on Evictions – Residential & Commercial
(Newest to Oldest)
[NOTE: As of June 30, 2020, the Tenant Safe Harbor Act modified and extended the protections to residential tenants and residential mortgagors only and is now the controlling law for residential tenants and residential mortgagors as further modified by more recent Executive Orders.]
- December 30, 2020 – Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.87, which extended the moratorium through January 29, 2021, for commercial tenants and commercial mortgagors. This executive order is a continuation of the moratorium issued in Executive Order 202.28 that relates to eviction of any commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent or a foreclosure of any commercial mortgage for nonpayment of such mortgage.
- December 27, 2020 – Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.85, which extended the moratorium through January 26, 2021, for residential tenants and residential mortgagors. This executive order is a continuation of the expanded protections to residential tenants and residential mortgagors under the Tenant Safe Harbor Act provided in Executive Order 202.66.
CLICK HERE to see past executive orders affecting the moratorium on evictions.
How Evictions Work
Your landlord can evict you for two reasons. The first type of situation occurs when your landlord wants to evict you for certain conduct which is illegal or which is in violation of your lease. The landlord will first have to let you know, in writing, that the eviction is coming. This type of case is called a “holdover” proceeding. In certain situations, the landlord will have to give you a chance to fix the problem before beginning an eviction case in court.
The second type of situation occurs when your landlord wants to evict you for nonpayment of rent. This type of case is called a “non-payment” proceeding. The landlord must give you a rent demand (orally or in writing) before starting the proceeding. If the rent issue is not resolved, the landlord will give you a document called a notice of petition and petition, which is the legal document that tells you where and when you need to go to court and how much rent the landlord is claiming.
Before beginning a nonpayment proceeding, your landlord must give you at least fourteen (14) days in which to pay the rent or move out. If you fail to pay the rent or move, your landlord can file an eviction case in court. In either case, the landlord will have to follow the law that may apply to your situation and the terms of your lease. For instance, in rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments, the landlord’s ability to evict you is limited. But, whether you are subject to rent stabilization/rent control or not, your landlord is not allowed to simply lock you out or remove your belongings from your apartment without going through a court proceeding. This is called “self-help” and is simply not permitted.
Legal Editors: Yoram Silagy, Douglas Simmons and Eric Zim, July 2015 (updated January 2021)
Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.