cuomo briefing

Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuom

Gov. Cuomo gives a briefing on May 11.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would extend the “moratorium on COVID-related residential or commercial evictions” for an additional 60 days until August 20th. 

However, tenant and housing advocacy groups say the fine print of that order will allow for eviction proceedings to move forward through the New York courts e-filing system, increasing the burden of proof on tenants to show they could not pay rent because of COVID-19 related financial hardship.

Rather than keeping the moratorium on evictions as it had been in place since March 20th, the governor’s new moratorium, several groups argue, will put tens of thousands of New Yorkers at risk. 

The March 20 executive order said, “There shall be no enforcement of either an eviction of any tenant residential or commercial, or a foreclosure of any residential or commercial property for a period of ninety days.”

The one issued by the governor last week used different wording: “There shall be no initiation of a proceeding or enforcement of either an eviction of any residential or commercial tenant, for nonpayment of rent or a foreclosure of any residential or commercial mortgage, for nonpayment of such 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 for a period of sixty days beginning on June 20, 2020.”

The new eviction moratorium also included new measures to protect tenants: Under one provision, landlords will not be entitled to late fees during the course of the moratorium. Under another, renters facing hardship can enter into a written agreement with their landlords to use their security deposits toward their rent.

However, the Right to Counsel Coalition on Monday voiced concerns about the burden of proof the new order creates.

“This order puts the onus on tenants to show they are entitled to not be sued or evicted. This means thousands of tenants will still be sued in non-payment eviction cases and they will have to face intrusive inquiries into all their personal financial information, just to get dismissal of an eviction case that should never have been brought in the first place,” the group said in a statement. “Many tenants who have currently suspended eviction warrants are at great risk of being evicted come June 20th, because they won’t know how to stop the eviction, even if they do qualify for the moratorium.”

Advocates say the criteria added to the moratorium not only introduce greater risk of eviction for those who don’t qualify, but also could sew confusion about tenants’ rights, which landlords can exploit.

“The governor’s recent so-called extension of the eviction moratorium opens the door to the potential eviction of thousands of New York City tenants,” Raun Rasmussen, the executive director of Legal Services NYC, said in a statement, “at the precise moment when they are most in need protection from losing their homes.”

Rasmussen added that New York needs “solutions that keep tenants in their homes and out of court during the COVID-19 crisis.” He said Cuomo’s moratorium extension is instead, “a confusing order that will increase fear and potentially start a flood of new evictions at a time when courts, tenants and their advocates need to keep doing all we can to protect against the spread of the virus.”

Marika Dias, managing director of the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project, says there are two key categories of tenants that are not covered under the new eviction moratorium: tenants who were being evicted for anything that doesn’t relate to nonpayment of rent (also known as holdover cases) and tenants unable to show that they have faced a financial impact due to COVID-19. 

Another issue, Dias says, is eviction warrants. On June 20th, warrants generated during the moratorium can potentially be executed, which could leave more people without shelter during the worst public health crisis in recent history.

9 thoughts on “New Version of Cuomo’s Evictions Ban Seen as Weaker

  1. If Real Estate Taxes must be paid the. Tenant’s should pay. Period.
    How can anyone carry a building without Rent ?

  2. No rents how will landlords pay water bills, Property taxes in July, October, January, Fire Insurance payments, electricity, heating oil, emergency repairs, etc

  3. The government doesn’t give a rats ass about landlords, this new MORATIRUM EVICTION LAW is only allowing “tenants” the right to be SCUMBAGS! I have a 1 family house with a family of 6 who claim none of them are not working but they are and now I am homeless because I have to pay their rent and can’t afford the apartment that I had. This is is ridiculous!

  4. Cuomo should allow non-payment of rent cases start on people who have been served before the pandemic started. I have a drug addict tenant who lives at my primary residence and it’s been hell. My lawyer was to step into court literally the day they were shut down. This is such bullshit. She is an essential worker who has worked when she sobers up. Hasn’t paid rent since November!!

    • I have the same issue since September 2019, drug addicts moved in also, plays extremely loud music that I can hear their bass from 2 floors up, banging on walls every day and night,its been a nightmare, it hasn’t stopped ever since & tenants are taking advantage because they know about their eviction case. They have been served before pandemic and I hope the Courts starts taking care of these eviction cases that are non related to Covid-19. It’s not fair to other tenants that are also paying rent. They are getting evicted due to being a nuisance with noise constantly.

  5. Did it never occur to you that instead of complaining about your tenants, you could be fighting with them to obtain financial relief for both them and you? it’s like you willingly pigeonhole yourself into tribes instead of thinking practically.

  6. My tenant has not paid since August. Warrant was to be served on march 31st. She has at least $15000 in unpaid rent money plus pandemic relief and probably unemployment and child support. She must have had plans in place to move but realized she can work the system. Meanwhile i have my sister living with me cause her lease was up and she was going to move into apt. Instead i have a crazy woman living downstairs breaking things and being a nuisance to us and the neighbors, she even has started making false reports to city agencies.

    • We need to start a petition to have Cuomo or mayor let people who weren’t paying rent and in court for eviction prior to COVID to continue getting them out. My mom is retired and lives upstairs from her tenants who owe rent since Sept 2019 and stopped paying in November. My dad passed away in April 2020 and now the only income she gets is social security which she can’t afford the mortgage anymore. These scum bag tenants are living rent free while working and using the system to their advantage. Even have reported stupid complaints to DOB for no caulking around the tub but won’t let anyone in to fix it. I’m all for people who truly can’t afford to pay their rent as they lost their job to not be evicted but help the landlord who has bills to pay at the same time. The system is to help these tenants not landlords that do the right thing.

  7. This government knows how to kill the goose that lays the golden egg (Landlords). They provide homes for scumbag tenants and they themselves are treated like garbage by the government. It’s a one sided thing. Tenants don’t have to pay rent but Landlords MUST pay taxes and mortgage and water and utilities etc. The math dose not work. Landlords will go into foreclosure because the Banks want their money too. This is how you skin a dead cat.

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