NYS Legislature Expected to Pass COVID-19 Eviction and Foreclosure Protection Act; Extends Tenant Eviction Ban Until May 1
Real Estate In-Depth | December 28, 2020
ALBANY—The New York State Legislature is meeting today in special session to vote on and approve the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act, which it describes as the strongest bill of its kind in the nation. The legislation will extend an eviction moratorium on residential tenants until May 1.
The State Assembly and Senate were expected to vote and approve the measure today. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his press briefing today, said he would sign the legislation when it arrives on his desk.
The Senate Democratic Majority announced on Dec. 28 a Special Session to take place today (Dec. 28) to pass the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act, which would block eviction proceedings from going forward and will help ensure New York renters and homeowners can stay in their homes if they are facing hardships due to the pandemic. Any pending eviction proceedings, or any commenced within 30 days of the effective date of this legislation, will be stayed for at least 60 days to give tenants an opportunity to submit the hardship declaration. This effectively implements a two-month moratorium to ensure New Yorkers in need are able to take advantage of this legislation and the protections it provides.
“The bill advanced by the Senate Majority will help ensure New York tenants, homeowners, and small landlords will not have to fear being kicked out of their homes if they’ve been impacted by this pandemic and economic crisis,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “I commend Senate Housing Committee Chair, Senator Brian Kavanagh for his leadership on this issue, and my Senate Majority colleagues for taking this historic action. We will continue to lead New York State forward during this crisis and provide real relief to help New Yorkers in need.”
The legislation (S.9114 / A.11181), will:
Prevent Evictions: The bill creates a Standardized Hardship Declaration Form, which tenants can submit in court or to their landlords to prevent or halt an eviction if they experience financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic that prevents them from being able to pay their rent in full, or move; or if someone in the household is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID.
The form allows tenants to declare financial hardship if they have lost income; have increased health, child care, or other family care expenses; have been unable to obtain meaningful employment because of circumstances relating to COVID-19; or cannot afford moving expenses.
Once a tenant has signed this form, they may return it to their landlord or to a court to prevent a landlord from filing an eviction, or to suspend an eviction proceeding already underway until May 1, 2021, in addition to other protections.
Protect Against Foreclosure and Tax Lien Sales for Residential Property Owners: This bill provides protections against foreclosure and tax lien sales to any residential property owner that owns 10 or fewer dwelling units, including their own primary residence.
Property owners will be able to access foreclosure and tax lien sale protection by filing a Standardized Hardship Declaration Form with their mortgage lender, local assessor, or with a court, similar to that created by the eviction protection proposal. The owner will declare, under penalty of perjury, a financial hardship that prevents them from paying their mortgage or property taxes because of lost income, including reduction in rent collections; increased expenses or the inability to obtain meaningful employment.
Landlords with more than 10 total units are excluded from these protections.
Prohibit Negative Credit Reporting and Discrimination in Extending Credit: This bill protects a property owner from credit discrimination if the owner has fallen behind on mortgage payments on the property at which they reside or because they have received a stay of mortgage foreclosure, tax foreclosure, or tax lien sales on the property.
Homeowners will use the same Hardship Declaration to avoid credit discrimination based on their mortgage arrears on the property at which such owner resides.
The legislation limits these new protections only to single-home residences, co-ops, owner-occupied multifamily primary residences with one to nine rental units.
Additionally, the legislation will prohibit negative reporting to any credit agency of the granting or imposition of a stay on mortgage foreclosure proceedings, or tax foreclosure proceedings or tax lien sale on such property.
Automatically Renew Senior Citizens’ Homeowner and Disabled Homeowner Exemptions: The bill will require local governments to automatically renew the annual requirement that eligible recipients recertify their Senior Citizens’ Homeowner Extension (SCHE) and Disabled Homeowner Exemption (DHE) benefits for 2021. Normally, eligible recipients need to file renewal applications, sometimes in person at the assessor’s office.
Gov. Cuomo issued Executive Order (202.83) permitting local governments to automatically renew these exemptions at local option.
The bill requires local governments to automatically renew these exemptions, and will additionally allow for exemption increases if the homeowner is entitled to one.