On May 7th, New York Governor Cuomo extended the moratorium on commercial and residential evictions due to COVID-19 related hardships by another 60 days—through August 20, 2020. The moratorium was originally instituted by Executive Order 202.8 back on March 20th. Under new Executive Order 202.28, Governor Cuomo also eliminated all late fees and fees for missed rent payments assessed by landlords during that same period. The Order allows renters the option to use their security deposits for rental payments, with the security deposit being replenished over time. In addition, landlords cannot object to renters applying security deposits to rental payments despite the well-settled provisions of NY’s General Obligations Law stating otherwise.
While tenants have been afforded relief in response to the COVID-19 crises, there have been no similar concessions afforded to assist landlords in meeting their mortgage obligations—as was originally promised by Governor Cuomo in March. So, while the Governor’s most recent actions were lauded by tenants’ rights advocates, there is dissatisfaction from landlords statewide that this moratorium does not aid landlords in meeting their mortgage payment obligations.
From a practical standpoint, the moratorium on evictions does not preclude landlords from gearing up to commence the eviction process in anticipation of the August 20th moratorium being lifted. With an expected, drastic increase in eviction proceedings forecasted once the moratorium period ends, it is imperative that landlords have their filings ready to go before the end of August. We also expect the housing courts will be flooded with complaints which could further protract the timeline for the eviction process. Getting ahead of the issue sooner than later will be the best practice for landlords to ensure timely resolution of the financial problems caused by the COVID-19 shutdown.
Hurwitz & Fine continues to monitor and analyze these updates and advise landlords on matters related to the coronavirus outbreak. Please contact any member of the firm’s Commercial Real Estate, Development and Finance team for guidance on these evolving issues at 716-849-8900, by e-mail, or visiting our website at www.hurwitzfine.com.