New York freezes evictions statewide indefinitely amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted On Mon, March 16, 2020 By

Posted On Mon, March 16, 2020 By In Policy

Photo by Nick Normal on Flickr

Eviction proceedings have been halted until further notice in response to the coronavirus pandemic, New York officials announced Sunday. Effective Monday at 5 p.m., all proceedings and pending eviction orders will be suspended across the state, according to a memo written by New York’s Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks.

As the Real Deal first reported, the moratorium applies to both residential and commercial evictions. All non-essential functions of the city’s Housing Court will also be postponed, with repair orders, serious housing code violations, and landlord lockouts continuing.

The decision comes just days after more than two dozen New York City building owners said they will not execute any warrant of eviction for the next 90 days due to the coronavirus outbreak. In an open letter published on Friday, owners representing more than 150,000 rental units and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) voluntarily pledged to freeze evictions at their properties for three months.

The joint letter came from REBNY Chair William Rudin, REBNY President James Whelan, and major landlord groups, including Brookfield Property Group, The Durst Organization, Related Companies, RXR Realty, Two Trees, Vornado Realty Trust, and more than a dozen others.

“We want to do our share too. As owners and managers of more than 150,000 rental apartments in the city, we will help our residents weather this crisis safely in their homes,” the letter reads. “Starting immediately, we are voluntarily pledging that we will not execute any warrant of eviction for the next ninety days unless it is for criminal or negligent behavior that jeopardizes the life, health or safety of other residents.”

“With all the stress, health risk and economic suffering going on now, no one should have to worry about losing their place to live during this crisis.”

The New York City Housing Authority had halted residential evictions last Thursday. In a statement, NYCHA Chair Greg Russ said: “We are observing a moratorium on residential evictions and extending our rental hardship policy to impacted households; our hearing office is adjourning all cases; and we are encouraging residents to utilize our automated and online systems whenever possible, to complete their transactions.”

Tenant advocate groups and lawmakers had pushed for a ban on evictions throughout the public health crisis. A petition sponsored by the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance–as well as a number of other organizations–that called for an eviction moratorium and a freeze on rents has garnered more than 11,600 signatures.

State Sens. Brad Hoylman and Brian Kavanagh introduced legislation on Thursday that would enact a statewide moratorium on both evictions and foreclosures during the current pandemic, as well as future states of emergency.

And Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday directed the state’s major utilities companies to suspend service shutoffs to households who have missed a payment. The companies will also continue to offer payment plans to customers who are struggling with their utility bills because of the outbreak.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on March 13, 2020 and has been updated. 

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