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COVID-19 Helpful Links and FAQ's

COVID-19 Helpful Links and FAQ's
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Tenants

Statewide housing resources:

Download Housing Resource List

 

Q: I am now out of work because of the virus and can’t pay my rent, can my landlord evict me?

No residents can be evicted in New York State due to financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Cuomo signed into law the Tenant Safe Harbor Act on June 30, 2020 which states “No court shall issue a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession against a residential tenant or other lawful occupant that has suffered a financial hardship during the COVID-19 covered period for the non-payment of rent that accrues or becomes due during the COVID-19 covered period” (beginning March 7, 2020).

For a more information on the “Tenant Safe Harbor” legislation, visit:

https://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2019/S8192B

 

While there is a temporary moratorium on evictions, there is currently no moratorium on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent or an owner’s obligation to provide essential services. Economic relief may be available through unemployment insurance or other emergency social services. You should also consult a lawyer if you have questions relating to your specific lease. Here are NY State Bar Association links to legal service providers Statewide:

https://www.findalawyernys.org/   

http://lawhelpNY.org/   

http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/

 

For more information visit: https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/housing/

For unemployment assistance visit: https://www.ny.gov/services/get-unemployment-assistance

For information on paid sick leave visit: https://www.governor.ny.gov/programs/paid-sick-leave-covid-19-impacted-new-yorkers

 

 

Q: What should I do if my landlord gives me an eviction notice?

No residents can be evicted in New York State due to financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are a rent stabilized or rent controlled tenant and feel you are being harassed by your landlord, file a complaint with HCR’s Tenant Protection Unit at: [email protected] or Office of Rent Administration at: https://hcr.ny.gov/harassment

Non rent stabilized tenants can report harassment to AG’s office. https://ag.ny.gov/uploads/tenant-harassment-prevention-task-force-complaint-form

Additionally, while the courts have temporarily limited filings, significant acts of harassment may rise to the level of hazardous living conditions and may be an exception to the temporary moratorium on nonessential cases.  A link to the administrative order can be found at: https://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/AO-78-2020.pdf

 

 

 

Q: My lease expires March 31, 2020.  My landlord informed me via certified mail that he is not renewing my lease nor will he rent month to month.  I have not secured a place.  Will I be covered by the mortgage/rent moratorium?

Yes, at least temporarily. On March 20, 2020, implementing a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants. At this time, eviction proceedings have been suspended and no one can be evicted in New York State until at least June 20th.

 

Q: Do I still have to pay rent during this outbreak?

While there is a temporary moratorium on evictions, there is no stay or moratorium on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent or an owner’s obligation to provide essential services. The Executive order states in part:

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. 

A link to the Executive Order can be found here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2028-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency.

Additionally, New York’s Administrative Judge issued a temporary order that no new papers will be accepted for filing in nonessential court cases.  In the context of housing, examples of essential cases, wherein the court will still accept filings, are: illegal lockouts, cases to restore tenants to possession, extremely hazardous living conditions, but not non-payment or holdover evictions.  A link to the administrative order can be found at: https://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/AO-78-2020.pdf

While there is a temporary moratorium on evictions, there is currently no stay or moratorium on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent or an owner’s obligation to provide essential services.  Beyond the moratorium on evictions, at this time there is no specific COVID-19 related economic relief for tenants.  For some, economic relief may be available through unemployment insurance or other emergency social services. You should also consult a lawyer with questions relating to your specific lease. Here are NY State Bar Association links to legal service providers Statewide https://www.findalawyernys.org/  http://lawhelpNY.org/  http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/

 

Q: Many small businesses have closed and renters have lost their jobs. Will there be a rent freeze or will landlords be required to suspend rent payments for tenants who are out of work?

There are no plans at this time to suspend rent payments, but this is an evolving situation. Governor Cuomo is committed to protecting New Yorkers, and assuring no New Yorker is forced out of their homes during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

 

Q: Can landlords in New York attach late fees to partial rent payments during the coronavirus?

The Governor has issued an Executive Order (202.8) which  can be found at: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2028-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency

Also, there is a court administrative order (https://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/AO-78-2020.pdf) which, among other things, places temporary stay on evictions but does not excuse a tenant’s obligation to pay rent at this time, and there is no specific additional COVID-19 related economic relief for tenants or landlords and their respective rights and responsibilities are still  binding.

You should also consult a lawyer with questions relating to your specific lease. Here are NY State Bar Association links to legal service providers Statewide https://www.findalawyernys.org/  http://lawhelpNY.org/  http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/

 

Tenant Harassment

If you are a rent stabilized or rent controlled tenant and feel you are being harassed by your landlord, file a complaint with HCR’s Tenant Protection Unit at: [email protected] or Office of Rent Administration at: https://hcr.ny.gov/harassment

Non rent stabilized tenants can report harassment to AG’s office. https://ag.ny.gov/uploads/tenant-harassment-prevention-task-force-complaint-form

Additionally, while the courts have temporarily limited filings, significant acts of harassment may rise to the level of hazardous living conditions and may be an exception to the temporary moratorium on nonessential cases.  A link to the administrative order can be found at: https://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/AO-78-2020.pdf

Landlords

Q: I’m a landlord and my tenants are unable to pay rent due to the virus, so I am unable to make my mortgage payments. What should I do?

The Governor Cuomo has ordered a 90-day mortgage relief period for borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders are suspended for renters, but rental payments have not been waived. There is no moratorium on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent or an owner’s obligation to provide essential services. 

 

Managing Properties in the Age of Coronavirus

Bisnow hosted a webinar with NAA and IREM experts and members Barry Blanton, CPM® and Pat Hutchison, CPM®. The webinar covers strategic planning for property owners and managers, specifically looking at:

·         Continuity of business planning

·         Reviewing lease agreements in case of business disruptions

·         Creating healthy and hygienic work and living environments

·         Strategies for resident and tenant communications

View the Webinar Recording

 

My Resident Tested Positive for COVID-19, Now What?

NAA offers operational insight for how to handle a resident testing positive for COVID-19 . Guidance is presented by Ayiesha Beverly, NAA Senior Staff Attorney, National Lease Program. Released 3/24/2020

 

How to Handle Maintenance During COVID-19 

NAA provides insight into how to handle maintenance during the spread of COVID-19. Guidance is presented by Paul Rhodes, NAA National Safety and Maintenance Instructor. Released 3/20/2020

 

For more information visit https://www.dfs.ny.gov/

 

For more information on the Governor’s directive visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

Homeowners/ Mortgages

For SONYMA Loan Information - Click Here

 

Q: I lost my job due to the virus and cannot pay my mortgage, what can I do?

Under the Governor’s direction, New York State mortgage servicers are providing 90-day mortgage relief to homeowners impacted by the novel coronavirus.

The directive also includes:

  • No negative reporting to credit bureaus
  • Grace period for loan modification
  • No late payment fees or online payment fees
  • Postponing or suspending foreclosures
     
    In addition, the NYS Department of Financial Services New York regulated banking organizations have eliminated ATM fees, overdraft fees, and credit card late payment fees for any individual who demonstrates financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

For more information go to:

https://www.dfs.ny.gov/reports_and_publications/press_releases/pr202003241

 

Q: Who exactly does the 90-day waiver for mortgage payments apply to? I have a home in NY, but my mortgage is from a bank in out-of-state. I also have a small business in NY that has been hit hard. Would that be considered a hardship?

You should contact your mortgage servicer to discuss your situation.  Here is a link to the Department of Financial Services guidance on mortgage relief: https://www.dfs.ny.gov/industry_guidance/industry_letters/il20200319_coronavirus_mortgage_relief

State Information and Quicklinks

COVID-19 & Housing Related FAQ's

Housing Workforce/ Industry

Q: Should scattered-site housing employees be in the office or working from home during this emergency?

Scattered-site housing organizations would be considered essential businesses according to the guidance issued by Empire State Development Corporation since they are human service providers https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026. These employees are exempt from the in-person workforce restrictions in the Governor’s order and may continue to work on site. However, all essential businesses are strongly encouraged to maximize the number of employees who are able to work remotely and enact procedures to minimize in-person interaction unless necessary.

 

Moving

Q: Am I able to move at this time, and are moving companies considered an essential service?

Residential movers are considered an essential service. However, it is recommended you do not move unless absolutely necessary, and you may still be required to follow your building’s rules and policies on moving during this time.  Additionally, you must follow the latest guidance regarding social distancing during your move (https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/13067.pdf), as well as the rules under “Matilda’s Law,” which provides restrictions to New York’s most vulnerable populations, including individuals age 70 and older, those with compromised immune systems and those with underlying illnesses. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-new-york-state-pause-executive-order).

Before moving, you should contact both your moving company and your building management, if you are a tenant, to determine whether they have established any new policies for moving at this time. A link to the Executive Order can be found here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2028-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency.

Please keep in mind that there is a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants, so you cannot be evicted at this time.

For more information on essential services visit ESD’s website: https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026 Please keep in mind that it is recommended that people not travel during this time unless absolutely necessary.

 

Public Housing

PHAs are strongly encouraged to maximize the number of employees who are able to work remotely and enact procedures to minimize in-person interaction unless necessary (e.g., establish call forwarding of office land lines, maximize electronic submission of rents, documents and forms currently accepted in-person).

Employees performing essential functions who may be required to interact face to face (e.g., essential facilities & maintenance staff) should follow the latest guidance regarding social distancing.  https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/13067.pdf

and  https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/index.html).

 

Q:  I am a civil servant at a public housing facility. Does Governor Cuomo’s order to work remotely apply to me or do I wait for a directive from HUD? 

You should consult your employer for clarification as to whether you are an essential employee who is required to report to your work location or can work remotely. To the extent a Public Housing Authority’s staff is necessary to maintain the safe operation of public housing these employees are exempt from the in-person workforce restrictions in the Governor’s order and may continue to work on site.

 

Q: What is the city doing to protect NYCHA workers? NYCHA is still functioning as business as usual.  However, workers have to enter tenant apartments and are no longer provided with PPE.  This puts the workers and tenants at a high risk and is concerning. Will the state mandate NYCHA to provide PPE to protect the workers and tenants?

To the extent a Public Housing Authority’s staff is necessary to maintain the safe operation of public housing these employees are exempt from the in-person workforce restrictions in the Governor’s order and may continue to work on site.

However, PHAs are strongly encouraged to maximize the number of employees who are able to work remotely and enact procedures to minimize in-person interaction unless necessary (e.g., establish call forwarding of office land lines, maximize electronic submission of rents, documents and forms currently accepted in-person).

Employees performing essential functions who may be required to interact face to face (e.g., essential facilities & maintenance staff) should follow the latest guidance regarding social distancing.  https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/13067.pdf

and https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/index.html).

 

Realtors

Q: Does the ban on real estate showings a property apply to commercial properties or vacant residential OR commercial properties?  Can a real estate broker unlock a vacant property and let the client tour it on their own and discuss by phone?

Under NYS on PAUSE, 100% of the workforce must stay at home excluding essential services. All non-essential business statewide must close in-office personnel function until further notice as part of NYS on PAUSE. A helpful link with guidance on what is an essential service can be found at https://governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-issues-guidance-essential-services-under-new-york-state-pause-executive-order

In addition, see  https://www.bizjournals.com/albany/news/2020/03/23/cuomo-coronavirus-real-estate-showings-banned.html

 

Recycling

Q: I live in an apartment building in NYC. Is it OK to throw recycling materials down the incinerator during this time?

We are unaware of any changes in New York City’s rules regarding recycling of glass, metal and plastic.  Here is a link to the NYC.Gov website where they indicate they will post updated information.  https://www.grownyc.org/recycling/faq

 

Utilities

Q: I can’t pay my utility bill right now, can my heat and electricity be turned off?

No. Under the Governor’s direction, major utilities will suspend service shutoffs during the outbreak.

For more information and to file a complaint if your service is shut off, visit: http://www.dps.ny.gov/