LIEB BLOG

How current events impact business & real estate

Showing posts with label COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. Show all posts

Thursday, September 02, 2021

NYS Eviction Ban Has Been Extended to January 15, 2022 – What Should Landlords Do Now?

The NYS Legislature passed Senate Bill 50001 and 50002, extending the state’s eviction / foreclosure moratoria to January 15, 2022, and both bills were signed by Governor Kathy Hochul on September 2, 2021.

What’s in the Law?
Briefly, the laws:
  • Extend residential and commercial eviction and foreclosure moratoria to January 15, 2022;
  • Expand eviction protections for tenants under the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CERAP);
  • Create a due process mechanism for a landlord to challenge a tenant’s Hardship Declaration;
  • Direct judges to require residential tenants to apply for CERAP if their hardship claim is determined to be valid;
  • Extend the period covered by the Tenant Safe Harbor Act to January 15, 2022; and
  • Increase funding for CERAP, Hardship Fund, and legal services for tenants facing evictions.

Moving Forward:
Landlords should demand hearings and challenge their tenants’ hardship claims, which is the trigger for the moratoria to apply. Unlike the prior version of the law, which was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in Chrysafis v. Marks, a tenant can no longer decide for himself / herself whether the law is applicable. Specifically, landlords may now file a motion with an attestation of the landlords’ good faith belief that the tenant has not experienced a hardship. Then, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether the tenant’s hardship claim is valid. If it’s deemed invalid by the court, then the eviction proceeding can proceed. If it’s deemed valid by the court, then the eviction is stayed until January 15, 2022, but the court will order the tenant to apply for CERAP so that the landlord is paid rent.

What is CERAP?
Tenants may apply for CERAP voluntary, or under court order. Under CERAP, Landlords receive up to 12 months of rental arrears and up to 3 months of future rent.

Eligible tenants are:
  1. Tenants or occupants obligated to pay rent in their primary NYS residence;
  2. Individuals who have qualified for unemployment or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due – directly or indirectly – to the COVID-19 outbreak;
  3. Tenants who demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; AND
  4. Tenants who have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income, adjusted for household size.

If a tenant is approved for rental assistance under CERAP, the money goes directly to the landlord. However, landlords who accept CERAP payments, must:
  • Not use any prior arrears as a basis for a nonpayment eviction proceeding;
  • Waive late fees;
  • Not increase monthly rent due 1 year from the date the first CERAP payment is received; and
  • Not evict based on an expired lease for a period of 12 months after the first CERAP payment is received, UNLESS the property is in a building with 4 or fewer units, and in which case, the landlord may decline to extend the lease only if the landlord or his immediate family intends to immediately occupy the unit for personal use as a primary residence.

Nonetheless, landlords who accept CERAP may still commence evictions against tenants who:
  • Intentionally cause significant damage to the property;
  • Persistently and unreasonably engage in behavior that substantially infringes on the use and enjoyment of other tenants or occupants; or
  • Causes a substantial safety hazard to others.

What should landlords do now?
Start an eviction proceeding and challenge the hardship, which will either result in CERAP money or permission to continue the eviction process. Alternatively, if a landlord does not have a good faith basis to challenge the hardship or does not want to be restricted by the program’s requirements, then, a landlord should bring a breach of contract lawsuit in NYS Supreme Court against their non-paying tenants, as explained by the federal courts in Elmsford Apartment Associates LLC v. Cuomo.



Friday, August 13, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Allows NYS Landlords to Resume Evictions

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked part of New York’s eviction moratorium, specifically Part A of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Protection Act of 2020 (CEEFPA), which imposed a moratorium on evictions for tenants who provide their landlord with a signed hardship declaration. What this means is that New York State landlords can now resume their eviction matters.

As a reminder, CEEFPA allowed tenants to simply sign and provide a Hardship Declaration to their landlords to halt any eviction proceeding against them. The Supreme Court found that this self-certification by the tenant and CEEFPA’s limited avenue for a landlord to challenge the tenant’s declaration “violates the Court’s longstanding teaching that ordinarily ‘no man can be a judge in his own case.’”

The Supreme Court’s decision is a big win for landlords and it came at a time when everyone is wondering whether CEEFPA’s eviction moratorium, which was set to expire on August 31, 2021, would be extended. However, New York landlord-tenant courts and county sheriffs have yet to implement rules which reflect the Supreme Court’s decision. We’ll keep you posted.

Although the New York eviction moratorium is now essentially nonexistent, it should be noted that the CDC moratorium is still in place until October 3, 2021. However, with the CDC moratorium basically having the same framework as CEEFPA, it's possible that it will also come under the same scrutiny as CEEFPA and also be struck down. What do you think?



Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Legislation Extending Eviction & Foreclosure Moratoriums to August 31, 2021 Signed by Governor

On May 4, 2021, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation (A.7175) that extends the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums on both residential and commercial properties from May 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021. The legislation is now on the Governor’s desk for signature. UPDATE: The Governor signed the legislation on May 5, 2021.

If signed, eviction and foreclosure proceedings shall be stayed until August 31, 2021 for tenants and foreclosure defendants who submit a hardship declaration pursuant to the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act and the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act.

Also passed is legislation which expands the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act to small businesses with up to 100 employees, or up to 500 employees if the business was shut down by Executive Order or Health Department directives for at least 2 weeks between May 15, 2020 and May 1, 2021 (A.7127).

As a result, landlords should resort to bringing breach of contract lawsuits against non-paying tenants as explained by the federal courts in Elmsford Apartment Associates LLC v. Cuomo. Do you think suing for a money judgment could result in a settlement where your non-paying tenant surrenders & leaves your property? Should the legislature block this too?



Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Eviction Law Extends Residential Eviction Moratorium to May 1, 2021

On December 28, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (“Act”). Essentially, the Act provides tenants with an opportunity to submit a Hardship Declaration, which stays most evictions until May 1, 2021. The second part of the Act which provides for mortgage foreclosure relief is discussed in a separate blog HERE.


The Details:

  • Essentially, once a tenant provides a Hardship Declaration, the eviction is stayed until May 1, 2020.
  • The Act applies to residential nonpayment AND holdover eviction proceedings.
  • The Act does not apply to tenants of seasonal rentals with a primary residence to return to and tenants who infringe on other tenants' use and enjoyment of the premises or pose a substantial safety hazard to others, but only upon the landlord proving same.
  • To qualify, a tenant must provide the Hardship Declaration and must declare that they are suffering a financial hardship, such as:
      • Significant loss of income
      • Increase in necessary out-of-pocket expenses due to COVID-19
      • Childcare responsibilities or care for the elderly, disabled, or sick family member
      • Moving expenses and difficult relocating
      • Other circumstances negatively affecting the ability to find meaningful employment
      • Vacating the premises and moving into new permanent housing poses a significant health risk
  • Sample hardship declarations will be available on the Office of Court Administration website.
  • New Eviction Proceedings - upon a Tenant's submission to the landlord of the Hardship Declaration, the landlord is prohibited from commencing any eviction proceeding until May 1, 2021. The landlord can commence an eviction proceeding if the landlord files the following:

    • Affidavit of service of the Hardship Declaration in English and tenant’s primary language.
    • Affidavit of Service of predicate notices pursuant to RPAPL and the lease; and 
    • Affidavit of the Petitioner/Petitioner’s agent attesting to the following:
      • Petitioner or his agent did not receive a Hardship Declaration from the Tenant 
      • The tenant returned the Hardship Declaration but the tenant is “persistently and unreasonably engaging in behavior that substantially infringes on the use & enjoyment of other tenants or occupants or causes a substantial safety hazard to others, with a specific description of the behavior alleged.” 
      • If the Court determines that the landlord failed to provide the Hardship Declaration, the court shall stay the eviction for at least 10 days for the tenant to complete the declaration. 
  • Pending Eviction Proceedings - proceedings commenced before 12/28/20 and commenced within 30 days of 12/28/20 are stayed for at least 60 days, or to such later date set by the Court. If the tenant submits the Hardship Declaration, the eviction proceedings are stayed until May 1, 2021. 
  • Post Warrant of Eviction - in any eviction proceeding in which an eviction warrant has already been issued, execution is stayed until the court holds a status conference with the parties. If the tenant provides a Hardship Declaration, the execution of the warrant is stayed until May 1, 2021.

What is most important to both tenants and landlords is that while the law stops most evictions in NYS until May 1, 2021, it does not affect the tenants' obligation to pay rent. No payments are canceled. 

Unfortunately, despite the law's intentions, it is still lacking. Inevitably, tenants will continue to incur insurmountable debt and small landlords will eventually find themselves in the middle of the looming foreclosure tsunami. 

What do you think?




Wednesday, December 30, 2020

No NYS Residential Foreclosures Until May – New Law

On 12/28/2020, the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 became law. 


This law effectively stops all residential foreclosures in NYS until May 1, 2021, but it does nothing about the borrower's obligation to repay their loan.  

 

Do you think that makes sense?

Isn’t that just delaying the inevitable foreclosure crisis?

Shouldn't something be done about the loan too? 

 

Here is how the law works – a homeowner needs to submit a hardship declaration to their lender and magic, no more foreclosure until May.

 

The Details:

o   Either the court or lender (depending on foreclosure status) must provide the borrower with a statement explaining the law.

o   To qualify, a borrower must be suffering a financial hardship including, such as

§  A significant loss of household income;

§  Increase in necessary expenses;

§  Childcare responsibilities;

§  Moving expenses; and/or

§  Other circumstances negatively affecting the borrower’s ability to find meaningful employment.

o   Sample hardship declarations will be available on the Office of Court Administration website.

o   New Foreclosures – If the borrower does not provide the declaration, the lender is required to file all sorts of documents to commence a foreclosure proceeding, including:

§  Affidavit of Service of the Hardship Declaration in English and in the borrower’s primary language.

§  Affidavit of Service of RPAPL 1303 and 1304 notices; and

§  Affidavit of the Petitioner/Petitioner’s agent attesting that the Petitioner or his agent did not receive a Hardship Declaration from the Borrower.

o   Existing Foreclosures – Paused (stayed) for at least 60 days to provide the borrower time to complete and submit the hardship declaration.

o   This also stops foreclosure sales if the case already was decided by the court in a judgment.

 

Make no mistake, this new law does NOT excuse borrowers from paying the mortgage. 

So, what is the point? 

Isn’t it misleading borrowers into digging an even bigger financial hole?

What do you think?