April 27, 2021 By William H. Trizano
On December 8, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. This Bill (S.9114/A.11181) stayed residential evictions and foreclosure proceedings until at least May 1, 2021. Under this Bill, residential tenants are granted relief by freeing tenants of the fear of eviction until at least May 1, 2021, however this is at the expense of landlords who are seeking to evict those same tenants for lack of rent payments. Homeowners facing foreclosure actions are also relieved by staying all proceedings until at least May 1, 2021. On March 9, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021. This Bill (S471A/A3207) reflects the December 8, 2020, bill, but applies to commercial tenants and foreclosures, staying all evictions and foreclosures until at least May 1, 2021. This Bill intends to protect small businesses from evictions and foreclosures due to the financial hardships placed by the pandemic. On May 4, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed into law a new bill (S6362A/A7175) extending the two previous bills until August 31, 2021, another four months. Despite being a relief for tenants, homeowners, and small businesses who have been detrimentally impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, it presents another blow to the landlords and property owners who must continue to take the brunt of the blow for the time being. New York has discussed providing relief for landlords and property owners, with the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance seeking to enforce the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. However, the State has not made it available as of yet.