Alerts

Update: New York Governor Extends Relief for Commercial and Residential Tenants

Alerts / September 24, 2020

On March 20, 2020 the governor of the state of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, issued Executive Order No. 202.8 – Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency, which provided for a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants.[1] Since then, Cuomo has issued additional executive orders extending and modifying the moratorium on evictions and providing certain other protections to commercial and residential tenants suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuomo issued each of these executive orders under the authority of Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the New York Executive Law, which permits the governor to temporarily suspend any statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule or regulation of any agency during a state disaster emergency if compliance with such provisions would prevent, hinder or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster or if necessary to assist or aid in coping with such disaster, and to issue any directive during a disaster emergency necessary to cope with the disaster.[2]

On July 6, 2020, Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.48 – Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency. Pursuant to the foregoing powers and authority, Cuomo modified the directive in Executive Order No. 202.28 by continuing the moratorium on commercial evictions until Aug. 20, 2020, and ending the moratorium on residential evictions, which was superseded by legislation on June 30, 2020.[3]

This legislation, known as the Tenant Safe Harbor Act (the Act), prohibits the eviction of residential tenants for unpaid rent during the COVID-19 covered period[4] if the tenant has suffered a financial hardship.[5] The Act also allows a tenant to raise financial hardship experienced during the COVID-19 covered period as a defense in a summary proceeding.[6] However, the Act does not prohibit a court from awarding in a summary proceeding a money judgment for the rent due and owed to a landlord.[7]

Through a series of later executive orders, Cuomo further extended the commercial moratorium as the emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic continued.[8] Most recently, on Sept. 18, 2020, Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.64 – Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency. Pursuant to the foregoing powers and authority, Cuomo further extended the moratorium on commercial evictions until Oct. 20, 2020.[9]

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as information becomes available.

Note: This is an update to our alert titled New York Governor Extends Relief for Commercial and Residential Tenants originally published on May 8, 2020, available here.

Authorship Credit: Michael Iannuzzi and Lauren Sternbach

[1] See Executive Order No. 202.8.
[2] N.Y. Exec. Law § 29-A (1).
[3] See Executive Order No. 202.48; see also Tenant Safe Harbor Act, 2020 N.Y. Sess. Laws 127 (McKinney).
[4] The COVID-19 covered period is defined as from March 7, 2020, until the date when there are no longer restrictions on businesses, public accommodations and nonessential gatherings in the county of the tenant’s residence.
[5] See Tenant Safe Harbor Act, 2020 N.Y. Sess. Laws 127 (McKinney).
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] See Executive Orders No. 202.55 and No. 202.57.
[9] See Executive Order No. 202.64.

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