*This post was last updated on September 29, 2020
Housing is healthcare. As we all endure the coronavirus ( COVID-19) public health crisis, it is critical that no one is kicked out of their home.
Below, we put together the most accurate information and resources to aid you and your loved ones in navigating eviction questions during these stressful times. For assistance on case-specific issues, call our free NY COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline at 929-356-9582 or visit nylag.org/hotline.
HOUSING (LANDLORD / TENANT)
RESOURCES AND INFORMATION
- Evictions in Housing Court cases are suspended until January 1, 2021. Before any eviction can occur, landlords must serve tenants with legal papers and the Housing Court will then conduct a virtual conference. At the virtual conference, tenants will have the opportunity to meet with a free lawyer and present any defenses. There is no longer a Federal moratorium on evictions.
- Landlords can file new cases, but those cases are not moving forward at this time. Many tenants may have the right to a free lawyer to assist them with their case.
- If you receive any legal papers from your landlord, their lawyer, or the Housing Court, DO NOT IGNORE IT. Contact NYLAG’s NY COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline at (929) 356-9582 or online, or the New York City Office of Civil Justice at (718) 557-1379, [email protected], or visit their website.
- Housing Court is open for tenants to file cases such as landlord illegal lockouts, apartment repairs, and applications addressing serious repair orders. You can find more information about how to file those types of cases here.
- All pending Housing Court matters are still postponed. Do not appear. New appearance dates will be sent to you directly.
- Right now, you are still obligated to pay rent. However, as a result of a very recently passed law, you cannot be evicted for any rent that became due after March 7, 2020, if you experienced financial hardship after March 7, 2020. But your landlord will still be able to sue you in Housing Court for unpaid rent and get a money judgment. Landlords won’t be able to evict you for post-March 7, 2020 rent until all parts of the state of emergency are lifted, which will likely not be for several months and possibly longer.
- If you entered into an agreement in court prior to the moratorium that required you to pay rent by a certain date and you can no longer make that payment, your landlord cannot call the marshal/sheriff/law enforcement agency to evict you until January 1, 2021, and a virtual conference is held.
- Please know that the order does not apply to rent demands. Landlords can still send you letters and rent demands for any rent they claim you owe during this time.
- Illegal Lockouts If you are an NYC tenant, you can file a case at an emergency courtroom to be let back into your unit. The courts and the City are referring all post-eviction and illegal lockout cases to the Right to Counsel legal services organizations, regardless of where you live or your income.
- Vacate orders are still issued when an apartment is dangerous or illegal, and only city agencies can issue them. Landlords are not legally empowered to directly issue vacate orders. During this crisis, we would expect to vacate orders to be rare — in response to truly dangerous situations or as the result of a fire. Once a vacate order is issued, tenants have the right to access relocation services provided by City agencies. Relocation services remain open during the crisis.
Separate from the New York state eviction moratorium that exists, there is a federal moratorium that comes from a federal regulation promulgated by the CDC. This eviction moratorium protects anyone in a non-payment case or at risk of a non-payment case by preventing the landlord from taking any action to remove them until December 31, 2020. The CDC eviction moratorium generally does not apply to holdover cases. To take advantage of the moratorium, every person on the lease must send their landlord a declaration under penalty of perjury that all of the following are true and correct.
- I have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- I either expect 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), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
- I am unable to pay my full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary2 out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- I am 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;
- If evicted I would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because I have no other available housing options.
- I understand that I must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that I may have under my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. I further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.
- I further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to state and local laws.
Remember the moratorium will not go into effect for you unless and until you send the declaration to your landlord. Generally, you should only send this declaration to your landlord if you’re dealing with a non-payment case and all of the above statements are true and correct for you. You can find a form for the declaration here.
NYCHA and Section 8 Residents
- All residential evictions are suspended, but individuals subject to evictions may receive new notices from NYCHA.
- NYCHA’s Office of Impartial Hearings currently remains closed, but individuals subject to termination actions may receive new notices from NYCHA.
- NYCHA tenants who face a loss of income can request an “Interim Recertification for any decrease in income that will last more than two months” by accessing the NYCHA Self-Service Portal at https://selfserve.nycha.info.
- Guidance on interim recertification:
- Management offices in your building will remain open and staff can assist residents via phone, email, or scheduled appointments to speak with staff from behind reception, for the safety of staff and residents.
- Non-emergency repairs and planned outages have been temporarily suspended, including inspections and scheduled maintenance visits.
- Emergency repairs will continue. Call the Customer Contact Center to schedule a repair at 718-707-7771.
- All NYCHA residents can go to NYCHA’s website for more information.
- HPD participants experiencing a rent hardship due to a decrease in income may contact HPD via [email protected] or by fax at 212-863-5299.
If you’re an NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.