What to Know about the Eviction Moratoriums – for Tenants
If you are tenant in New York, you may be confused about the various moratoriums mentioned recently in the news. Let’s go over the basics.
The New York State COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act
On May 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the New York State eviction moratorium to August 31, 2021. The act states “The legislation places a moratorium on residential evictions … 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 that are creating safety or health hazards for other tenants, and those tenants who do not submit hardship declarations.”
If you live in New York and are behind in your rent, you cannot simply stop paying and hope your landlord won’t evict you. There are a series of steps both you and your landlord must follow in order to be protected.
Here is the link to apply for the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) - https://otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance/#overview. If you are approved for the program, up to 12 months of back rent will be covered and paid directly to your landlord. The program will also help with up to 12 months of utility bills.
CDC Federal Eviction Moratorium
On August 3rd, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) declared a limited eviction moratorium for renters living in communities continuing to be hard hit with COVID-19. This is seen as an extension to earlier moratoriums that were part of the original CARES Act.
While the CDC and DHHS are allowed to declare public health emergencies, a number of lawmakers feel that they overstepped their bounds with this latest moratorium, and many are fully expecting to see this go to the Supreme Court.
Until then, under this moratorium renters have to declare the following:
- You have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- You either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), were not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
- You are unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- You are using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual's circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
- You eviction would likely render you homeless—or force you to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because you have no other available housing options.
Like for New York State, to be qualified for federal assistance with your rent, you must register for help. Here is a link to the Eviction Protection Declaration - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/EvictionProtectDeclare_508.pdf
Reaching Out for Help
Both New York State and Federal rules are complex and confusing. If you’ve been dealing with economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and you are afraid of being evicted, it’s time to reach out for help. There are a number of ways the right tenant lawyer can guide you through the various rules and regulations that seem to be changing almost every day.
If you live in New York, and you’d like to talk directly to a compassionate, knowledgeable, human being, reach out to New York landlord-tenant lawyer Ronald D. Weiss, P.C. for a free consultation. He can walk you through the process of getting the help you need. Call 631-271-3737 and take the first step to a fresh start.
Contact the Law Office of Ronald D. Weiss, P.C.
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