LIEB BLOG

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Showing posts with label eviction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eviction. Show all posts

Friday, December 17, 2021

Self-Represented Tenants Entering into Stipulations of Settlement Get More Protection

Additional protections in Housing Court are being enforced in order to aid self-represented parties. When opposing parties come to an agreement during a proceeding, they sign a Stipulation of Settlement ("Stipulation"), which is a binding agreement, so it is the judge's responsibility to ensure that the parties understand the Stipulation. 


Bill A3320A relates to stipulations in summary proceedings to recover possession of real property. Moving forward, a stipulation will not be approved by the court unless the court first verifies the following:

  • All parties have been accurately and appropriately named;
  • The authority of the signatory if a named party is not present;
  • The unrepresented party understands he may try the case if he does not agree with the stipulation;
  • An opposing party's attorney did not inappropriately give advice to the unrepresented party;
  • Whether or not the unrepresented party agrees or contests any allegations in the petition or predicate notices;
  • The unrepresented party understands the claims and defenses available to him and what his options may be in light of the claims and defenses, and, that the claims and defenses are adequately addressed in the stipulation;
  • The unrepresented party agrees to the terms in the stipulation;
  • The unrepresented party understands the consequences of either party's non-compliance with the stipulation; and
  • An appropriate rent breakdown is included, if applicable. 

An allocution is the process in which the judge determines if the parties understand the terms of the Stipulation. The amended Bill offers judges a checklist, if you will, that will allow them to efficiently ensure unrepresented parties understand the agreement that they have entered into.

Landlord's attorneys should become well versed in the allocution so that they can ensure that the Court will approve their client's settlements and resolve disputes.  












Friday, December 10, 2021

Owners & Landlords Are No Longer Able to Recover Legal Fees Unless Given Authority by the Court

A new law on landlord's ability to collect legal fees was signed by Gov. Hochul on December 21, 2021 and is effective immediately. The law, S2014, means a lot to owners and landlords in New York. The Bill prohibits owners and landlords from charging lessees any legal fee, surcharge, or other charges for legal services in connection to operating or renting a residential unit, unless the owner/landlord has the legal authority to do so. A lessee is only responsible to pay legal fees if directed by a court order. However, you only get a court order if you go to court and do not resolve issues beforehand. As a result, legal fees for out-of-court negotiations, lease drafting, amendments, and the like are no longer recoverable.


Do you think that owners and landlords will be less likely to resolve disputes without going to court if they can't recover their legal fees? 


It’s no secret that legal work can be costly. So, it is typical for landlord-petitioners to try and recoup the money that they spend retaining an attorney and all of the expenses that come with legal work and legal actions. Aside from legal representation, additional legal fees can include court fees, notary public charges, and administrative charges, to name a few. This bill is aimed at the costs of lease preparation, pre-litigation negotiations, and all the work that landlords need in order to avoid a court case. 


Co-ops are technically landlords to their residents and as a result, all legal fees imposed by the Board for sales, document review, and the like may no longer be recoverable based on this law.  There is no carveout for Co-ops and that needs to be addressed. Perhaps, Governor Hochul should have told the legislature to get it right before she signed the Bill into law.


This is just another obstacle for owners and landlords, which increases the cost of business, and eventually, the rent paid by tenants.





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.



Thursday, August 19, 2021

Federal Judge allows CDC Eviction Moratorium to Remain in Effect

On August, 13, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich held that the CDC eviction moratorium, which was extended by the Biden Administration through October 3, 2021 (“New CDC Moratorium”) should remain in effect.

This means that tenants may still be protected, subject to certain rules, until October 3, 2021.

As background, the CDC’s previous moratorium, which was first enacted in September 2020 and was challenged all the way up the US Supreme Court, expired on July 31, 2021.

Yet, before it expired the Supreme Court upheld its effectiveness until an appeal was decided on its merits, which remains pending. Now, the moratorium, which we discuss more fully here, remains in effect because Judge Friedrich ruled that it remains subject to the prior stay. on the basis that the New CDC Moratorium is subject to the D.C. Circuit Court’s stay.

Stay tuned for changes as Judge Friedrich’s decision is currently under appeal.


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, March 11, 2021

New Law Extends Commercial Eviction Moratorium to May 1, 2021 for Small Businesses

On March 10, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Protect our Small Businesses Act of 2021 (“Act”). In summary, the Act provides some commercial tenants with an opportunity to submit a Hardship Declaration, which upon submission to the Court or landlord, stays most evictions and ejectment actions until May 1, 2021. The second part of the Act which provides for commercial mortgage foreclosure relief is discussed in a separate blog HERE.

Applicability
  • The Act applies to summary proceedings or any other judicial or administrative proceeding to recover possession of a commercial unit, including evictions and ejectment actions.
  • The Act only applies to a commercial tenant who:
    • is a resident of New York State;
    • is independently owned and operated;
    • is not dominant in its field; and
    • employs fifty or fewer persons.

Hardship Declaration
  • The Act requires the Court or the landlord (depending on the status of the eviction proceeding) to provide the tenant with the Hardship Declaration in English and in the language of the lease / tenancy agreement.
  • The tenant should complete the Hardship Declaration if the tenant is suffering a financial hardship and is unable to pay rent or other financial obligations or obtain alternative suitable commercial property because of:
    • significant loss of revenue;
    • significant increase in necessary expenses related to providing protective equipment to prevent transmission of COVID-19; or
    • moving expenses and difficulty securing alternative commercial property.

New Commercial Proceedings
  • If there is no pending proceeding and a tenant provides a Hardship Declaration to the landlord, the landlord is prohibited from commencing any proceeding until May 1, 2021.
  • If the tenant does not provide a Hardship Declaration, the landlord is required to file and serve the following to commence an action:
    • affidavit of service of the Hardship Declaration in English and the language of the commercial lease / tenancy agreement;
    • affidavit of service of predicate notices required by law and the lease;
    • affidavit of the landlord / landlord’s agent attesting to the following:
      • Landlord / his agent did not receive a Hardship Declaration from the Tenant; or
      • The tenant returned the Hardship Declaration but the tenant is “persistently and unreasonably engaging in behavior that substantially infringes on the use and 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 to the tenant, the Court shall stay the proceedings for at least 10 business days to allow the tenant to complete the Hardship Declaration.

Pending Commercial Proceedings
  • Refers to proceedings commenced on or before March 7, 2020 and commenced within 30 days of March 10, 2021.
  • Stayed for at least 60 days, or to such later date the Court deems necessary to provide tenants time to complete and submit the hardship declaration.
  • Court shall issue stay and mail copy of the Hardship Declaration to the tenant.
  • If the tenant provides a completed Hardship Declaration to the Court or landlord, the matter is stayed until May 1, 2021.

Post-Warrant of Eviction
  • In any 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.
  • For the sheriff to execute the warrant of eviction, it must now state:
    • The tenant has not submitted a Hardship Declaration and the tenant was properly served with a copy of the Hardship Declaration, listing dates of service by the petitioner and the court; or
    • The tenant is ineligible for a stay under this act because the court determined that the tenant is persistently and unreasonably engaging in behavior that infringes on the use and enjoyment of other tenants/occupants or causes a safety hazard to others with a specific description of the behavior.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

It's Time to Evict Your Family Members in an Eviction Proceeding

There has been a long standing dispute in the courts as to whether a family member can be evicted in an eviction proceeding (a/k/a, summary proceeding) or whether a protracted case was required in Supreme Court (a/k/a, ejectment proceeding). 


A summary proceeding is considered to be a "simple, expeditious and inexpensive means of regaining possession" of your property. Yes, it can take many months and thousands of dollars, but in contrast to an ejectment proceeding, that is fast and cheap. You can expect an ejectment proceeding to take years and to spend tens of thousands of dollars.


As you can see, whether a family member can be evicted in a traditional eviction proceeding is a big issue that can change the cost / benefit analysis of proceeding with the eviction proceeding in the first place. 


The answer to this long standing dispute was just provided by the appellate courts in Aloni v. Oliver when the courts ruled that a family member or romantic partner can be evicted just like everyone else in a traditional summary proceeding. 


The only exception to this general rule is that you cannot evict your spouse in a summary proceeding and must resort to an ejectment proceeding, unless there is an existing court decree to the contrary.


Are you ready to evict your family members who are taking advantage of you? 




Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Housing Price Plummet Delayed to June 30, 2021

The headlines are in - the federal foreclosure / eviction moratoriums are extended to June 30, 2021 from March. This extension applies to 70% of single family home mortgages.


The subtext is that we have a foreclosure / eviction crisis on the horizon. According to the White House "1 in 5 renters is behind on rent and just over 10 million homeowners are behind on mortgage payments." 


If you just use a little deduction, you will quickly realize that almost every block across America is going to see foreclosures and evictions. In the micro, this will result in firesales, which will reduce comparable home prices across the board. In the macro, it will decrease property upkeep and maintenance, which will create a secondary impact on the greater community's desirability and pricing. 


That's the bad. 


The good is that it's going to be a buyer's market soon.


We need to start thinking about strategies to Purchase Property Post-Pandemic. 


What's your strategy? 






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?




Monday, December 14, 2020

Commercial Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums Extended through January 31, 2021

Through Executive Order 202.81, Governor Cuomo extended the moratoriums for the initiation of a proceeding or enforcement of an eviction of any commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent or a foreclosure of any commercial mortgage for nonpayment of such mortgage to January 31, 2021. This means that no eviction or foreclosure proceeding may be commenced against commercial tenants for nonpayment of rent or mortgage until such date.

In addition, New York City’s Guaranty Law, which prohibits commercial landlords from enforcing personal guaranties against natural persons for payments during the COVID-19 period, was extended and now covers payments due from March 7, 2020 through March 31, 2021. The law was recently challenged in the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York for violating the Constitution, but the law was ultimately upheld. The Court reasoned that while the law does substantially impair contracts, the law is constitutional as it advances a legitimate public interest, and the law is reasonable and necessary in advancing such interest.

While commercial landlords may still seek relief by commencing a holdover eviction, landlords may be better off commencing an action in Supreme Court where they can seek damages for breach of contract, removal of the tenant through an ejectment action, and the enforcement of personal guaranties (for non-NYC landlords), if any. Landlords are advised to consult counsel to ensure compliance with the terms of the lease and all landlord-tenant laws currently in place to avoid any delays and additional damages.

There are currently no moratoriums in place for residential evictions. Residential landlords may commence both holdover and nonpayment proceedings. However, for nonpayment proceedings, courts may not grant a judgment of possession and warrant of eviction against tenants in a nonpayment proceeding who raise the affirmative defense of a COVID-19 financial hardship and proves same. Further, tenants who submit a CDC declaration form stating their inability to pay rent, among others, to their landlords are also protected from nonpayment eviction proceedings until December 31, 2020.



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Commercial Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums Extended through January 1, 2021

Through Executive Order 202.70, Governor Cuomo extended the moratoriums for the initiation of a proceeding or enforcement of an eviction of any commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent or a foreclosure of any commercial mortgage for nonpayment of such mortgage to January 1, 2021. This means that no eviction or foreclosure proceeding may be commenced against commercial tenants for nonpayment of rent or mortgage until such date. However, commercial tenants may still be evicted through holdover eviction proceedings or sued under breach of contract theories for missed rent.

There are no moratoriums in place for residential properties by Executive Order but residential evictions based on non-payment are governed by the Tenant Safe Harbor Act. Courts may be prohibited issuing a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession against a residential tenant experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship, if the tenant raises it as an affirmative defense and the Court determines that the tenant is suffering such hardship. Listen to our podcast HERE for what this means to residential landlords.


Wednesday, September 02, 2020

CDC's Residential Eviction Moratorium - Fines up to $500,000 and Jail - You Better Read This

CDC's eviction moratorium has teeth and the details matter. 

CDC issued an Agency Order, under the Public Health Service Act, to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 through December 31, 2020. 

The Order applies to residential tenants (not transient or "seasonal tenant[s]") who have provided an executed and sworn copy of the Declaration form, set forth in Attachment A of the Agency Order, to their landlord. 

Such Declaration swears that:
  1. The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  2. The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  3. the individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  4. the individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and 
  5. eviction would likely render the individual homeless—or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.
Landlords and tenants alike better get this right as DOJ can bring actions against violators and "a person violating this Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $100,000 if the violation does not result in a death or one year in jail, or both, or a fine of no more than $250,000 if the violation results in a death or one year in jail, or both, or as otherwise provided by law." If the violator is an organization, the fines are $200,000 and $500,000, respectively. 

This does NOT mean that landlords DON'T have rights.

It is expressly noted that "[t]his Order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract." Nor does the order preclude "the charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis..." As we just wrote in Dan's Papers - Sue the Tenant for a Judgment

Finally, it is noted that the Order does not prevent evictions "for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment" nor does it preclude "foreclosure on a home mortgage."

As an aside, the CDC is justifying this Order by pointing to the "over 174,000 deaths due to the disease" and comparing it "to the peak mortality observed during the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic," while asserting that "eviction moratoria-like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing-can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease." Perhaps we should stop downplaying this pandemic - it is real per Trump's Federal Agency. 



Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Legally Speaking: Rentals, Rights, Reality...What's a Landlord to do?

Friday, August 21, 2020

Commercial Eviction and Foreclosure Nonpayment Proceedings Stayed Until September 20, 2020

On August 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.57 which, among others, extended Executive 202.48 and 202.28. Per the Executive Order, the following are stayed until September 20, 2020: 

  1. Commencing a commercial eviction proceeding against any commercial tenant for the nonpayment of rent;
  2. Commencing a foreclosure of any commercial mortgage for nonpayment of such mortgage; and
  3. Enforcing of such eviction or foreclosure.

As to #3, the Executive Order is unclear as to what is actually prohibited in terms of enforcing an eviction or foreclosure, but it could mean that executing a warrant of eviction or conducting a foreclosure sale are currently prohibited. Stay tuned should future Executive Orders or Court Administrative Orders provide clarification.

As to holdover eviction proceedings, the Executive Order does not specifically address them, thus residential and commercial holdover eviction proceedings may be commenced but they remain suspended per Administrative Order 160/20.

As a reminder, for proceedings commenced prior to March 17, 2020, the execution of the warrant of eviction for residential properties is stayed until October 1, 2020. For properties outside New York City, you can read more about the current eviction rules HERE.

In New York City, the execution of the warrant of eviction for residential properties is stayed until October 1, 2020 and until September 4, 2020 for commercial properties. For properties in New York City, you can read more about the current eviction rules HERE and HERE.


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Eviction and Foreclosure Stay Continued for Commercial Properties Not Residential

On July 6, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.48 which affects the validity of many existing executive orders but most notable of which, is that it extends the stay on evictions and foreclosures proceedings to August 5, 2020 for commercial properties, but not for residential properties.

Essentially, Executive Order 202.48 extends the validity of Executive Order 202 up to 202.14, as continued and contained in Executive Order 202.27, 202.28, and 202.38 for another thirty (30) days through August 5, 2020 with some exceptions.

Real estate professionals should be aware that it does not extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium in place as ordered in Executive Order 202.28 for all residential tenants and mortgagors. However, for commercial properties, an eviction and foreclosure stay is still in place until August 5, 2020.

As such, landlords and lenders should take note of the following:
  • Residential evictions may now be commenced but courts are prohibited from awarding warrants of eviction and judgments of possession for tenants experiencing financial hardship for non-payment of rent that accrues or becomes due during the COVID-19 period pursuant to the Tenant Safe Harbor Act. Money judgments may be awarded. For more information, read our blog HERE;
  • Residential foreclosure proceedings based on nonpayment due to COVID-19 are prohibited until August 20, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 202.28;
  • Commercial foreclosure proceedings based on nonpayment due to COVID-19 are prohibited until August 5, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 202.48;
  • Commercial evictions based on nonpayment are prohibited until August 5, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 202.48; and
  • Commercial holdover proceedings may be commenced beginning June 21, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 202.8.

Landlords and lenders are advised to contact counsel to ensure that all laws, executive orders, and court directives in place due to the coronavirus pandemic are followed. As noted in our recent blog HERE, eviction and foreclosure proceedings now require that the petitioner/plaintiff file additional forms with the commencement documents pursuant to recent directives from Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks dated June 18, 2020 and June 23, 2020.


Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Landlord’s New World – Sue for Money Judgment, Not Eviction

Effective June 30, 2020, the Tenant Safe Harbor Act (“Act”) was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. Essentially, the Act prohibits courts from issuing a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession against a residential tenant for non-payment due to financial hardship during the COVID-19 covered period, but it allows landlords to obtain a money judgment for rent in a summary proceeding. Alternatively, landlords can simply commence a plenary action for the money judgment in district, county, or supreme court as jurisdictionally appropriate.

The Act defines “COVID-19 covered period” as March 7, 2020 until the date executive orders which closed or restricted public or private businesses, or required the postponement or cancellation of non-essential gatherings for any size for any reason expire. This means that until all businesses are allowed to be 100% open, a tenant may claim financial hardship and not be evicted.

As a result, A landlord who starts a summary proceeding to evict a tenant or lawful occupant for non-payment of rent will not be able to get a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession if the tenant or lawful occupant claims that he suffered financial hardship during the COVID-19 covered period. Tenants and lawful occupants are also allowed to raise it as a defense in the summary proceeding.

To determine whether a tenant suffered a financial hardship, courts shall consider the following, among other relevant factors:

  1. Tenant’s or lawful occupant’s income prior to the COVID-19 period;
  2. Tenant’s or lawful occupant’s income during the COVID-19 period;
  3. Tenant's or lawful occupant's liquid assets; and
  4. Tenant’s or lawful occupant's eligibility for and receipt of cash assistance, supplemental nutrition assistance program, supplemental security income, the New York State disability program, the home energy assistance program, or unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law.

The Act, however, does not prohibit landlords from obtaining a money judgment for rent if successful in a summary proceeding. Landlords are advised to contact counsel to discuss the best strategy to manage their tenants while complying with the various executive orders and laws in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

NY's Eviction Moratorium is Constitutional - Read What Else the Court Tells Us

If you are a NYS landlord, you MUST read the decision from the case Elmsford Apartment Associates LLC v. Cuomo if you want to be on the top of your game.

We aren't going to discuss the results, beyond saying the Court ruled that Governor Cuomo can legally suspend evictions and more during a pandemic.

We focus on these other gems given to us by the Court - Every property investor (landlord, property manager, broker, flipper, etc.) should read and accept this reality before getting into the investment game:
Evicting a tenant – especially a residential tenant – in New York is a slow, cumbersome and extremely tenant-favorable process, especially when compared to analogous procedures in other states.
Governor Cuomo did nothing to impede the commencement of holdover proceedings… Nor does EO 202.28 suspend[] the landlords’ right to initiate a common law breach of contract action in the New York State Supreme Court to redress a tenant’s failure to perform its payment obligations under his or her lease.
Tenants will continue to accrue arrearages, which the landlord will be able to collect with interest once the Order has expired.
One who chooses to engage in a publicly regulated business… by so doing surrenders his right to unfettered discretion as to how to conduct same.
The expected costs of foreseeable future regulation are already presumed to be priced into the contracts formed under the prior regulation
New York landlords do not enjoy a constitutional right to realize a profit from their rental properties – let alone all the profits contemplated in each of their individual rental agreements.
If the tenant uses the security deposit to pay a month’s rent, and the tenancy ends before the deposit is fully replenished, the landlord can obtain a judgment for the amount expended in repairs.
A special shout-out to the eviction explanation -
To secure an eviction warrant from the housing courts, a New York landlord must serve the tenant a notice of nonreceipt of payment, and give the tenant one final chance to pay by making a demand of payment within 14 days. If the landlord is still owed payment after two weeks have passed, he may commence what is known as a summary proceeding by filing a petition in the civil court, returnable by the tenant within 10 days. If the tenant does not respond in ten days, the court may (but rarely does) issue an eviction warrant immediately. However, if the tenant does respond, however, a trial is set for eight days hence. The trial may be adjourned up to ten additional days if the parties so require in order to produce their witnesses. If, after trial, a judgment is entered for the landlord and the court issues a warrant for eviction, the Sheriff must give the tenant 14 days’ notice in writing prior to execution. There are the usual provisions for appeal and stays issue routinely so that non-defaulting tenants are not evicted before their cases are fully reviewed. But even if the evidence supports a judgment for the landlord, the housing court is not required to order the tenant’s immediate eviction. A tenant may obtain a stay of the issuance of the warrant for up to one year by showing that ‘it would occasion extreme hardship to the tenant or the tenant’s family if the stay were not granted’. Such stays are far from uncommon.
Still think that being a landlord is for you?

This hasn't diminished our motivation to invest in real estate, but as the Court makes clear - we respect the rules and adjust our prices / reserves to account for more rules in the future.

Some years there are less rules and other years there are more, but we know that a keen understanding of the rules will make us profitable as property investors.

If you want profitability too, you need to increase your compliance budget immediately and respect the rules of the game because, as you can see, fighting the governor's office is a losing battle.



Monday, June 29, 2020

Legally Speaking: Legal Issues Folks are Facing in Buying/Selling/Renting this Summer

Everyone is in the Hamptons this summer. Tenants fled here in March. They are staying even after they were supposed to go back to the city at the end of their lease terms. Unfortunately, tenants have unilaterally elected to illegally holdover in their former rentals because it's not just more beautiful here, it's safer. This has caused major problems for buyers, sellers, and legitimate tenants alike.

Andrew Lieb shares many legal issues people are facing this summer in Dan's Papers. Click HERE to read the full article.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Evictions Stopped Under Coronavirus Stimulus - CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or “CARES” Act was enacted into law on March 27, 2020. In addition to the relief enumerated in two of our recent articles (Nuts & Bolts of Stimulus Package - House Passes 2 Trillion Dollar Stimulus Package and Forbearance and Foreclosure Moratorium in Coronavirus Stimulus), the CARES Act also provides relief to residential tenants.

Under the CARES Act, from March 27, 2020 to July 25, 2020, landlords of 1- to 4-family and multifamily (5 or more) properties with FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac mortgage loans may NOT:
  • Initiate a legal action to recover possession based on nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges;
  • Charge fees, penalties or other charges related to the nonpayment of rent;
  • Require the tenant to vacate with less than 30-days’ notice; and
  • Issue the 30-day notice to vacate until after July 25, 2020.
In addition, landlords who obtain a forbearance on their multifamily mortgage due to a financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 outbreak are prohibited from doing the above before their forbearance period expires.