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What Tenants Need to Know About the Eviction Moratorium Due to Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has turned life upside down in pretty much every way, including for the residential housing market and the relationships between landlords and tenants. This is a big deal in New York City because about two-thirds of the city’s population (approximately 5.4 million people) are renters.

If you are a landlord or a renter in NYC, here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus-related halt on evictions.

Why Is There an Eviction Moratorium?

Unemployment rates have skyrocketed in New York lately, as they have in much of the rest of the country as well. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has put a stop to all business that has been deemed non-essential, resulting in the most significant job losses in the private sector in over a decade. The state’s Department of Labor in New York has reported that over $1.6 million people have filed unemployment insurance claims since early March when the coronavirus took hold of the region.

All of this unemployment has crippled the local, national, and global economy, with one side effect being people being unable to pay their rent. In response, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a moratorium on evictions to prevent people from losing their homes during the pandemic and serving as a lifeline for struggling residents.

New Eviction Legislation in New York

According to new legislation, there is a residential and commercial eviction moratorium that is in place until August 20. A March 20, 2020 order prohibited evictions statewide, and these suspensions have been extended through August 20 to allow families to catch their breath and figure out what the situation is over the next few months.

This applies to tenants who are experiencing financial hardship due to being unemployed or otherwise due to COVID-19. There has been some criticism of the order because it may just be postponing the date of mass evictions rather than actually addressing the issues of why tenants can’t pay their rent. There are also concerns that the phenomenon of tenants not paying rent will create a domino effect and result in landlords not being able to pay utility bills and ultimately the collapse of the New York City real estate market.

The Effect on Tenants and Landlords

If you are a renter in New York, any pending eviction case you are involved in will likely have the proceedings adjourned temporarily. If you are currently behind on your rent or if your lease has expired, this isn’t enough for your landlord to evict you because he/she must get an order from the court. Between June 20 and August 20, eviction extensions will only protect people who quality for unemployment or are unable able to pay rent due to COVID-19.

As a landlord, you should know that the law is not on your side right now and that evicting tenants will be particularly challenging throughout the summer. This may mean that you aren’t able to pay water and sewer bills for your properties because these bills have not been postponed by the New York state government. There have been rumors of waiving mortgage payments, but this has not yet been implemented to help landlords. Many landlords are trying to work out mutually agreeable payment plans with their tenants and looking into financial assistance programs for property owners in New York City to address concerns of paying real estate taxes and avoiding late fees.

Protect Your Assets During Uncertain Times

Now more than ever, it’s important to protect what you have for the future during these uncertain times. Theodore Alatsas, Esq. is an asset protection lawyer who will take your best interests to heart and help you safeguard your wealth now and in the future. We can assist you with asset protection trusts, revocable and irrevocable trusts, living wills, guardianships, Medicaid planning, elder law planning, and other legal strategies to help you take back some control of your future.

Contact us today at 718-233-2903 for a free consultation.