NY Tenants Experiencing COVID-19 Financial Hardship Can’t be Evicted
The Tenant Safe Harbor Act (“TSHA”) was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on June 30, 2020 to address the tidal wave of evictions looming over New Yorkers. Courts are prohibited from ever evicting residential tenants who experienced financial hardship for nonpayment of rent that accrues or becomes due during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. It would apply to any unpaid rent accrued between March 7, 2020 and the yet-to-be-determined date on which all COVID-related restrictions on non-essential gatherings and businesses are lifted. The TSHA builds upon the protections of the current eviction moratorium. Prior to the TSHA, a tenant who was unable to pay rent during the COVID-19 crisis could be evicted for non-payment as soon as the moratorium ended. Now, because of the TSHA, a court can never use unpaid rent that accrued during the COVID-19 period as the basis for a non-payment eviction of a financially burdened tenant. However, a court could grant a money judgment for rent owed.
The NY legislators felt a moral obligation to do everything possible to keep New Yorkers in their homes. An estimated 1.156,800 New York renter households have at least one worker who lost a job due to COVID-19. Of those households, an estimated 327,000 workers have lost their jobs, but are not claiming unemployment insurance benefits, many of which are ineligible due to their immigration status. Contact Robert Friedman, Attorney at (716)542-5444 if you have any questions about evictions.