WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT EVICTIONS IN NEW YORK STATE
The following information is current as of January 13, 2021.
Because of a new state law passed in December, most tenants cannot be evicted before May 1, 2021 even if they owe rent.
· To be protected by this law, you must fill out a form that tells your landlord that you lost income or had more expenses during the COVID pandemic, or that moving would be bad for your health. A copy of the form follows. Fill out the form and give a copy to your landlord.
· If your landlord already took you to court for eviction and you agreed to move, or you got a paper (a warrant of eviction) saying you are going to be put out soon AND you haven’t been evicted yet, the court should set a date for you and your landlord to meet again before you can be put out.
· If your landlord started an eviction case against you in court that is still going on, or if your landlord starts an eviction case against you by January 27th, your case will probably be put off for sixty (60) days.
· Landlords may still evict tenants who are causing problems. If your landlord says you are bothering neighbors or causing safety problems, you could be evicted.
· If you get court papers, DO NOT IGNORE THEM. You can call Neighborhood Legal Services for help at (716) 847-0650.
Your landlord cannot threaten or harass you to make you move out of your apartment.
· It is illegal for landlords to try to harass tenants so that the tenants will move out. For example, your landlord cannot call you at all hours to demand the rent or threaten to harm you if you do not pay rent.
· If your landlord is threatening you or harassing you, or if your landlord threatens to hurt you or your family, you may be able to get an order of protection. You need to contact the police and file charges against your landlord to try to get an order of protection against your landlord.
· It is a Class A Misdemeanor for your landlord to threaten you, change your locks, or try to force you from your apartment without a court order.
· If a landlord locks you out or tries to put you out or evict you illegally, call 911 and show the police officer your identification, your lease if you have one, a utility bill, or some other document with your name and address to show that you live in the apartment.
· If you can’t get back into your apartment, call Neighborhood Legal Services at (716) 847-0650 to see if we can help.
There is a federal law that protects tenants from eviction if they lost income during the pandemic.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a temporary, Federal moratorium (ban) on evictions. This ban goes from September 4, 2020 through January 31, 2021.
- At the end of the moratorium on January 31, 2021, your landlord may try to collect all rent and fees not paid prior to and during the moratorium.
- The ban on evictions does NOT mean that tenants do not have to pay rent.
- It also does not prevent landlords from charging late fees. Tenants should pay their rent if they
- If a tenant is causing a health or safety threat where they live, the ban does not protect the
- Landlords are not allowed to evict tenants who give them a written statement (which is attached) that says:
- The tenant tried to get all available government assistance for rent; and
- The tenant doesn’t expect to earn:
- $99,000 or more in 2020 (or $198,000 if the tenants are filing a married filing jointly tax return); or
- The tenant and their family did not have to report any income to the IRS in 2019 (tenant paid no federal income tax for 2019); or
- The tenant received a stimulus check under the federal CARES Act in 2020; and
- The tenant and their family can’t pay the full rent because of:
- A substantial loss in income because their hours at work were cut or
because they lost their job; or
- An extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expense, and
- The tenant has made best efforts to try to make some payment to the landlord. This is based on what the tenant can afford and takes into account other mandatory expenses; and
- If the tenant and their family are evicted, there would be a likelihood that they would have to live with family or friends, or be homeless.
*New information continues to come in about how the eviction process is unfolding in New York State and in Buffalo. The guidance in this document is based on information from the CDC, the Attorney General, the Governor’s Office, and the NYS Office of Court Administration, and was updated on January 12, 2021. For more information, go to https://ag.ny.gov/coronavirus#tenantrights.