STATUTE DOESN'T APPLY TO OCCUPANTS WHOSE RIGHTS HAVE ENDED
After he lost his condominium within the context of a foreclosure proceeding, a licensee holdover proceeding [pursuant to RPAPL 713(5)] was filed against T.C., to remove him from the premises.
While the case got delayed in early 2020 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was stayed until January 2022 by T.C.’s filing of a hardship declaration, he later sought to extend the stay by filing an application with the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).
In May 2022, after the New York County Civil Court vacated the stay, because it agreed with the landlord’s argument that T.C. wasn't a “tenant” entitled to ERAP related relief, T.C. appealed.
On its review, the Appellate Term, First Department, noted that ERAP explicitly references a “household,” and defines that term as encompassing, "a tenant or occupant obligated to pay rent in their primary residence in the state of New York,” while an “occupant” is described as “a person, other than a tenant or a member of a tenant's immediate family, occupying a premises with the consent of the tenant or tenants."
Since T.C. was neither a “tenant” nor an “occupant,” as statutorily defined, the AT1 concluded that he was not entitled to any ERAP-related stay protection, and affirmed the outcome, noting in part:
"Had the Legislature intended to extend the ERAP stay to any individual who files an application, regardless of status, it could have chosen to do so through appropriately worded legislation.”
Was that the last word?
# # #