Covid-19 Eviction Protections for Tenants
• For the Office of Court Administration guidance on moratorium expiration and eviction protections, visit https://nycourts.gov/
• The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (https://otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance/), administered by OTDA, provides eviction protections; all renters who have submitted a completed application for arrears accrued after March 2020 are protected from eviction while it is under review, and those with approved applications are protected from eviction from an expired lease for a full year, provided they continue to pay rent. For more information visit: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance/faq.asp#faq-tenant
• In recognition of the financial hardship that tenants faced due to COVID, on January 13th, Governor Hochul, in a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, requested additional federal emergency rental assistance highlighting the critical need for funding: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-joint-letter-us-treasury-calling-additional-federal-rental-relief
• The Tenant Safe Harbor Act, Chapter 127 of 2020, protects tenants from eviction for failing to pay their rent that came due during the covered period from March 7, 2020 through January 15, 2022, if they suffered a financial hardship due to COVID-19. To receive these protections, tenants must raise financial hardship as a defense and affirm in court that they suffered from financial hardship. If the court finds that the tenant had a financial hardship due to COVID-19, the landlord will not be allowed to evict for the rent that was owed due to a tenant's hardship. The court can issue a money judgment against the tenant for the rent owed and other types of eviction cases may proceed.
• Funding is available to provide legal services or attorney’s fees for eligible tenants facing eviction proceedings. Information on free legal services is available here: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance/legal-providers/
• If a rent regulated tenant believes they are being harassed or overcharged, they should contact the Office of Rent Administration at (833) 499-0343 or the Tenant Protection Unit at [email protected]. Tenants may also visit NYS Rent Connect at https://rent.hcr.ny.gov/RentConnect/Welcome for further information regarding their rights and file complaints online with the Office of Rent Administration.
• In New York State, an eviction of a tenant is lawful only if an owner has brought a court proceeding and obtained a judgment of possession from the court.
o A sheriff, marshal, or constable can carry out a court ordered eviction. An owner may not evict a tenant by use of force or unlawful means.
o Any tenant who believes they are about to be evicted is advised to contact an attorney in private practice or with a legal aid or legal services agency, to protect their interests.