Update on Evictions in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the eviction moratorium was in place until August 31, 2020. Following this, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a temporary national moratorium on most evictions for nonpayment of rent lasting until December 31, 2020. However, residents would have to be eligible to fall under these protections, which prevents a landlord from even proceeding with an eviction case (which includes the filing and sending of certain notices), after receiving a declaration from a tenant stating they are experiencing a hardship as a result of the pandemic. However, the state protections in Pennsylvania have lapsed. There are efforts going through the Pennsylvania legislature to extend the eviction moratorium, but they have so far been unsuccessful. There also currently does not exist any order permitting tenants to utilize their security deposit for rent in Pennsylvania.
Update on Evictions in New Jersey
As most are already aware of, residential tenants in New Jersey cannot currently be locked out of their homes during the COVID-19 emergency. The New Jersey governor, on October 24, 2020 signed another executive order, Number 186, which extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103, which was previously extended on April 7, May 6, June 4, July 2, August 1, August 27, and September 25. By the Governor’s Order, there is a moratorium on residential evictions and foreclosures. Commercial tenants are not subject to the moratorium.
EXTENSION ON COMMERCIAL EVICTIONS IN NEW YORK
On October 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.70, which further strengthens tenants’ protections during the COVID-19 pandemic, this time for commercial tenants. The Executive Order extends New York State’s moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions and foreclosures through January 1, 2021. Governor Cuomo states that the “extension of this protection gives commercial tenants and mortgagors additional time to get back on their feet and catch up on rent or their mortgage, or to renegotiate their lease terms to avoid foreclosure moving forward”.
CDC Issues Guidance, Apartment Industry Concerns Heard
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document as informal guidance to supplement its Order to temporarily halt residential evictions. The CDC Order, as drafted, contained certain ambiguities that the FAQ has now made clear.
Can Landlords Charge Late Fees in New York?
A number of executive orders have been passed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extending and expanding the temporary suspension of several New York state laws due to the COVID-19 crisis. Many landlords have inquired if they are permitted to charge late fees to tenants who continue to pay their rent late.
Federal Eviction Moratorium – CDC Order
The Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued an Order to be published in the Federal Register on September 4, 2020. This Order issues a nationwide eviction moratorium, beginning on Friday, September 4, 2020, which will run through the end of the year, ending (unless extended) on December 31, 2020.
New York COVID Rent Relief Program
New York has recently launched a COVID Rent Relief Program available to tenants who meet certain criteria. If a tenant is eligible, their landlord will receive the funds directly.
New York In-Person Evictions to Resume
The administrative judge of the New York City Civil Court announced in an email to tenant attorneys that in-person evictions would begin July 27, 2020. Other counties are expected to incrementally implement a similar procedure. An eviction that was on the calendar before March 16, 2020 will retain priority in being scheduled first. However, as of July 13, 2020, there are still inconsistencies in uniformity of procedures with respect to in-person court appearances.
Legislative Update - Fair Chance in Housing Act
This Thursday, July 16, 2020, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee will be considering the bill with a Senate Number of S250 and an Assembly Number of A1919. This bill establishes the “Fair Chance in Housing Act.”
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.”