New York State and the Tenant Safe Harbor Act
On June 30, 2020, New York Governor signed the “Tenant Safe Harbor Act” (a.k.a. the “Hoylman Bill”) into law. This law not only extends the current eviction moratorium for New Yorkers, but it strengthens it as well. The Tenant Safe Harbor Act prevents courts from issuing warrants of eviction or judgments of possession under certain circumstances. The court cannot issue a warrant or judgment if: it would be for non-payment of rent that accrued or came due during the COVID‑19 period, and it would be against a residential tenant or lawful occupant who has suffered a financial hardship during the “COVID‑19 covered period.”
Governor Vetoes the Emergency Rental Assistance Bill
Governor Phil Murphy has vetoed five proposed Coronavirus. The vetoed bills were designed to assist to families and small business suffering from COVID-19 related hardships. Among these vetoed bills was S-2332/A-3956. This bill was discussed in our prior blog, which can be found here.
LANDLORD TENANT COURTS IN PENNSYLVANIA SET TO REOPEN ON JULY 11TH
Per Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Order, Landlord Tenant matters will begin processing on July 11th, 2020.
On May 11th, the Governor stayed all Notice Requirements mandated by the Landlord and Tenant At of 1951 and the Manufactured Home Community Rights Act for 60 days. This action tolled the ability to commence the timelines necessary for the initiation of eviction proceedings. Per the order, all eviction timelines must be computed with a start date of July 10th, 2020, at which point any previously delivered Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 and Manufactured Home Community Rights Act notices will be deemed delivered and any eviction proceedings may commence. The eviction proceedings requiring compliance with the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 and the Manufactured Home Community Rights Act may proceed from that point forward in the normal course of action.
Urge Governor Murphy to Sign Renter Assistance Bill
The Assembly and the Senate have unanimously passed a bill that creates the “2020 New Jersey Emergency Rental Assistance Program.” The bill is entitled S-2332/A-3956. Our office previously posted a blog about the date that this was passed unanimously in the Assembly and Senate, as it was a large calendar for the Legislature filled with COVID-19 related bills. You can read our prior blog below.
NY Executive Order Extending Moratorium
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order Number 202.28 on May 7, 2020. As per the terms of the Executive Order, the state’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium was extended sixty (60) days beginning on June 20, 2020 and will expire on August 20, 2020. During this time period, no eviction or foreclosure action may be initiated or resumed for nonpayment of rental or mortgage payments, by someone that is eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or otherwise facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. In addition, the moratorium on evictions against those who have financial hardship because of COVID-19 will be delayed through August 20. This leaves the question open as to whether the Courts will process warrants for eviction to execute against tenants against whom a landlord had a judgment prior to the pandemic after the original June 20 moratorium deadline. Furthermore, from March 20, 2020 through August 20, 2020, no landlord can demand or be entitled to a late fee payment for a tenant’s late payment of his/her rent. Despite mounting pressure to do so, Governor Cuomo did not go as far as to cancel rent outright.
NEW JERSEY EXECUTIVE ORDER: LANDLORDS, TENANTS, & SECURITY DEPOSITS
We hope everyone is doing well and staying safe in these troubling and difficult times. On April 24, 2020, Governor Murphy signed a new executive order that will provide much-needed relief to both landlords and tenants. Many landlords have been seeking solutions to assist their tenants with lagging income streams as a result of the COVID‑19 pandemic. Some landlords have further contemplated the legal consequences of utilizing a tenant’s security deposit in lieu of rent. Executive Order No. 128 creates a fix for this ongoing problem.
Landlord/Tenant Disputes and Damages
In a recent unpublished case, Canales v. Yu, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam), a landlord/tenant dispute that started out with the landlord not returning a security deposit ended with the landlord receiving an award covering only a small fraction of the damage incurred, with no costs or expenses. The Plaintiff and Third-Party Defendants (collectively, Tenants) rented the first floor of a residential property owned by the Defendant (Landlord). Issues arose as the landlord alleged the tenants damaged the property and the tenants claimed that the landlord failed to make requested repairs, which resulted in the tenants agreeing to vacate the property. The landlord stated that she was not going to return their security deposit because the property had been damaged.
IMPORTANT UPDATES TO NEW JERSEY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION AND LANDLORD-TENANT LAW
Yesterday was a heavy calendar for the Senate and Assembly. A number of impactful bills were up for consideration. Our office is providing you an update on bills relevant to you. Many of these bills were considered in the Assembly and the Senate simultaneously yesterday. They would provide relief for New Jersey residents and businesses due to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Please see the bullet-point summary of the bills that were up for consideration yesterday:
NEW BILL THREATENS TO AFFECT LANDLORDS’ ABILITY TO COLLECT RENTS AND OTHER CHARGES
The New Jersey Legislature is meeting Monday, April 12th to consider more bills to provide relief to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The current bills being considered are varied, but there is one bill in particular which may substantially impact landlords.
Assistance Animals and Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) recently issued a Notice as to the legality and enforcement of animal policies in multiple dwellings with respect to Assistance Animals under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”). This Notice applies to a variety of multiple dwellings, including apartment buildings and community associations. The Notice assists in gaining an understanding of the obligations of housing providers and regulators toward tenants and owners with disabilities with respect to the ability to keep animals in their dwellings. The Notice also replaces several pieces of guidance previously issued by HUD on housing providers’ obligations regarding service and assistance animals.