After the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s moratorium on eviction, many New Yorkers, both tenants and landlords alike, were left wondering what it meant for them. Can tenants now be evicted during the pandemic?
The answer is—it depends. While there are still protections against evictions due to financial hardship brought on by the pandemic, safety, and other concerns can still be grounds for eviction.
New Moratorium on Covid-related Evictions
Early in September, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a new moratorium on Covid-related residential and commercial evictions in the state.
According to this new law, residential tenants experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic will be protected from eviction until January 15, 2022. The law also has new protections concerning commercial evictions.
This law potentially affects around 700,000 New York households who are currently behind in rent, according to the National Equity Atlas. The state is second only to California in rent debt, with around 750,000 households in the Golden State lagging on rent payments.
New York is the first state to mount barriers against eviction after the U.S. Supreme Court decided against the moratorium put forward by the Biden administration.
This moratorium is also the most extensive among all the states so far. Five other states and Washington D.C. currently have similar protections in place, but all of them will expire this year.
What It Means for Tenants
Tenants struggling to make rent payments are urged to apply for the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program or ERAP. While the applications are being processed, tenants will automatically be protected from eviction. If they qualify for the assistance, tenants will receive a year’s worth of eviction protection.
The new law also allots $25 million to fund legal services of tenants who are facing eviction proceedings. It also helps tenants in locations where they have no access to free legal assistance.
Tenants taking legal action against their unlawful eviction or any other dispute with their landlord can benefit from hiring professional process servers. They know the New York service of process inside out, and they can help ensure that the legal action pushes through.
What It Means for Landlords
Over $1.2 billion in funding has either been allotted or already distributed through the state’s ERAP. This includes direct payments of more than $300 million made to over 23,000 New York landlords.
The new law also allots $125 million for landlords with tenants who refuse to participate in the new Supplemental Emergency Rental Assistance program or tenants who have left their residence with pending arrears.
Also, under the new law, landlords who believe their tenants are not qualified for the financial hardship exception can now request a court hearing.
The following can be grounds for tenant eviction as well:
- Creating safety and health risks
- Damaging property
- Non-submission of a hardship declaration
If a landlord chooses to pursue eviction, hiring a process server is an efficient way to ensure tenants receive the required notice. Professional process servers have a wealth of experience in dealing with evasive and problematic tenants, and they understand the intricacies of state regulations on service of process.
The Final Word
The state of New York has effectively renewed eviction protection for tenants who have experienced financial hardship due to the ongoing pandemic.
This new law also benefits landlords since they can receive rent payments from the state. Aside from that, it gives landlords recourse against tenants who refuse to participate in the program as well.
When taking legal action, whether against tenants, landlords, or state agencies, hiring a process server can make the entire task easier for those involved. It also helps prevent delays caused by incorrect or late service of process.
For more information about addressing landlord-tenant issues in New York, get in touch with us by filling out the form on our contact page.