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Evidence of COVID-related hardship required

On August 12, 2021, the United States Supreme Court -- our nation's highest court -- issued an order that could potentially result in the eviction of thousands of New York renters from their homes. “This is a very serious setback for our ability to protect tenants in the middle of a pandemic,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, one of the primary sponsors of the law which the jurists had reviewed.

The court’s order focused on a part of the statute which allowed tenants to get a stay of eviction by self-certifying that they’ve experienced pandemic-related economic setbacks, rather than providing evidence of same to a judge or court. “This scheme violates the court’s longstanding teaching that ordinarily ‘no man can be a judge in his own case,’” the majority wrote.

Although other parts of the N.Y. legislation remain unaffected by this decision, Kavanagh believes that landlords may feel emboldened by the ruling and could start filing cases immediately to evict tenants. But they would be misguided to do so, he said, noting that the new federal eviction moratorium remains in effect, and that there are several other state and federal protections available.

While that may be true, the ugly reality is that, as of last week, only 4 percent of New York’s $2.7 billion in federal rental assistance had been distributed to tenants.  Our state's leaders need to get their respective acts together, and must move more expeditiously, as COVID and its variants show no real sign of abating and continue to run rampant across the country -- bringing yet even more panic, confusion and uncertainty to the mix.

If you would like to know more about your rights and obligations, please feel free to consult one of our attorneys, by calling 212.619.5400.

SOURCE - https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/12/us/politics/supreme-court-new-york-eviction-moratorium.html?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20210813&instance_id=37837&nl=the-morning&regi_id=169572965&segment_id=66145&te=1&user_id=8d32c8c6a10d610bcb7eb03ffab87646 (subscription required)