Eviction Moratorium Extended until May 1

On Dec. 28, the New York legislature convened in a special session to extend the eviction moratorium until at least May. Governor Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 into law, which went into effect immediately.

The Act (S.9114/A.11181) prevents residential evictions, foreclosure proceedings, credit discrimination, and negative credit reporting related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also extends the Senior Citizens' Homeowner Exemption and Disabled Homeowner Exemption from 2020 to 2021. The Act adds to New York State's efforts to protect tenants and homeowners from the economic hardship incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation helps tenants facing eviction and mortgagors facing foreclosure proceedings due the pandemic in five areas:

  • Residential Evictions. The Act places a moratorium on residential evictions until May 1, 2021, for tenants who have endured COVID-related hardship. Tenants must submit a hardship declaration, or a document explaining the source of the hardship, to prevent evictions. Landlords can evict tenants who are creating safety or health hazards for other tenants, and those tenants who do not submit hardship declarations.
  • Residential Foreclosure Proceedings. The Act also places a moratorium on residential foreclosure proceedings until May 1, 2021. Homeowners and small landlords who own 10 or fewer residential dwellings can file hardship declarations with their mortgage lender, other foreclosing party or a court that would prevent a foreclosure.
  • Tax Lien Sales. The Act prevents local governments from engaging in a tax lien sale or a tax foreclosure until at least May 1, 2021. Payments due to the locality are still due.
  • Credit Discrimination and Negative Credit Reporting. Lending institutions are prohibited from discriminating against a property owner seeking credit because the property owner has been granted a stay of mortgage foreclosure proceedings, tax foreclosure proceedings, or tax lien sales. They are also prohibited from discriminating because the owner is in arrears and has filed a hardship declaration with the lender.
  • Senior Citizens' Homeowner Exemption and Disabled Homeowner Exemption. Local governments are required to carry over SCHE and DHC exemptions from the 2020 assessment roll to the 2021 assessment roll at the same levels. They are also required to provide renewal applications for anyone who may be eligible for a larger exemption in 2021. Localities can also set procedures by which assessors can require renewal applications from people who the assessors believe may no longer be eligible for an exemption in 2021. Recipients of the exemption do not have to file renewal applications in person.