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Thursday, June 18, 2020

NYC Civil Court COVID-19 Directives on Evictions Based on Non-Payment of Rent

Beginning June 20, 2020, any petitioner seeking to commence a summary proceeding for nonpayment of rent shall file with the petition an affidavit by a person with knowledge of the facts, stating the following:
  • Petitioner has made a good faith effort to ascertain whether the respondent is a person eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or otherwise facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Respondent is not such a person; and
  • Facts upon which the petitioner / individual signing the affidavit based such conclusion. See DRP 209.
Similarly, any individual seeking to obtain a default judgment for the respondent’s failure to answer in a summary proceeding based on the non-payment of rent must attach to the application, an affidavit with the above information. See DRP 210.

Lastly, the affidavit is also required to enforce a warrant of eviction that was awarded prior to March 20, 2020 based upon the nonpayment of rent. To enforce the warrant, the petitioner must seek leave of court to enforce the warrant and such motion must include the affidavit. See DRP 211.

The above directives were published in light of Executive Order 202.28 which extended the eviction moratorium to August 20, 2020 for eviction proceedings or enforcement based on nonpayment of rent or foreclosure of a mortgage, owned or rented, “by someone that is eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or otherwise facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The above directives apply to both residential and commercial properties and proceedings in all five boroughs and are all effective June 20, 2020, however, it is advised that the above affidavit also be prepared for eviction proceedings in Nassau and Suffolk County as Executive Order 202.28 applies statewide.

While Executive Order 202.28 and the Courts are well-intentioned, gathering the information required to complete the affidavit may be problematic for landlords. Often, a tenant who has not paid rent, has not reached out to the landlord to renegotiate their rent during the coronavirus pandemic, and is being evicted is unlikely to cooperate with a landlord’s attempt to get information. Nonetheless, landlords are advised to consult counsel in order to ensure that they follow the correct court procedures as one small mistake in filing may cause further delay, or even dismissal, of their court proceedings.

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