HOUSING ISSUES

COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) UPDATES

Because of the of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic, courts, agencies and other governmental agencies have made many temporary changes to their policies and procedures.  This informational post is part of a series put together by Neighborhood Legal Services to keep you informed of these changes. Neighborhood Legal Services will update these informational posts regularly.

If you have questions about any of the below, please contact Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.  If you live in Erie or Niagara county, call (716) 847-0650. If you live in Genesee, Wyoming or Orleans county, call (585) 343-5450.  Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS) is not able to accept walk-in clients at this time.  If you need help, please do not come to our office.  Our reception staff will answer your calls and connect you with an NLS advocate who can help you with your legal problem.

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Evictions.

Please see our page on Evictions during COVID-19 at https://nls.org/coronavirus/evictions/.

 

I am living with unsafe housing conditions or am without utilities.

If you are living with unsafe housing conditions or you are without water, heat or electricity, you can call Neighborhood Legal Services at (716) 847-0650 for help.

City of Buffalo Water Shutoff

If you live in the City of Buffalo and your water has been shut off because you or your landlord did not pay the bill, you can get it turned back on without a payment at this time.

Here is how:

  1. Please call the Buffalo Water Department’s customer service number at (716) 847-1065
  2. Press 1 for an emergency related to water services
  3. Then press 1 to be connected to the Dispatch Department
  4. Then give name, address, and account #

If you have any problems getting your water restored under this emergency procedure, please call Neighborhood Legal Services at (716) 847-0650.

Foreclosures Sales In Western New York

Foreclosure sales have been barred until further notice in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties (8th Judicial District).

FHA-Insured Single Family Mortgages

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has also issued a moratorium through August 31, 2020 on foreclosures and evictions for FHA-insured Single Family mortgages.

Who is protected under the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act?

The CARES Act protects tenants who participate in the following housing programs:

  • Section 8 Project-Based Housing,
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher
  • Public Housing which includes Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, Lackawanna Housing Authority, and Niagara Falls Housing Authority
  • Rural Housing Voucher Program
  • HUD Supportive Housing for the Elderly,
  • HUD Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities,
  • HUD Multifamily Rental Housing and Below Market Rate Housing,
  • Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS
  • McKinney-Vento Homelessness Programs

When does the CARES Act go into effect?

The CARES Act took effect on March 27, 2020 and will be in effect for 120 days. Currently, the CARES Act is set to expire on July 25, 2020, but this is subject to change.

What protections does the CARES Act provide to tenants?

Under the CARES Act, a landlord is prohibited from filing a new eviction proceeding for the non-payment of rent. This includes any eviction cases that are motivated in any way by a protected tenant’s failure to pay rent.

The landlord is also prohibited from charging the tenant any late fees, penalties, or other charges that relate to the non-payment of rent.

When the suspension period of the CARES Act has been lifted, can a landlord start an eviction case if rent is owed?

After the suspension period of the CARES Act has been lifted, a landlord can evict a tenant who was covered by the act for non-payment of rent. However, the landlord must first give the tenant a 30-day notice. The 30-day notice must be given to the tenant after the suspension period has ended.  Right now, the suspension period is expected to end on July 25, 2020. A 30-day notice provided to the tenant before the suspension period has ended will not be valid.

 

Sources:

NYS Executive Order 202.1

8th Judicial District Administrative Order, March 16, 2020

HUD Mortgagee Letter 2020-04

HUD Mortagee Letter 2020-19

v.1.0 (03/24/2020)

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