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New York to Ban Most Evictions, Aims to Protect Tenants Facing Hardship

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Dec. 28, 2020 By Christian Murray

The New York State legislature is set to pass a bill Monday that would block the eviction of struggling New Yorkers until May 1.

Elected officials are convening a special session to pass the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act that aims to help residents remain in their homes and help small landlords.

The legislation would provide tenants with the ability to file a form attesting to economic hardship that would prevent a landlord from filing an eviction until May 1.

Tenants would have two months to make the “hardship declaration,” where they must state that they are unable to pay rent due to lost income, unforeseen heath costs or other financial problems stemming from COVID-19.

The form, once signed, would prevent a landlord from filing an eviction until May 1, 2021,

Any pending eviction proceeding–or any commenced within 30 days of the effective date of the legislation–would be stayed for at least 60 days. This would give tenants an opportunity to submit the hardship declaration.

The bill would also protect homeowners and small landlords—with 10 dwelling units or less– from foreclosure and tax lien sales. They, too, would be required to make a hardship declaration and would file the form with their mortgage lender, local assessor or a court.

Credit reports would also not be affected if the property owner falls behind on mortgage payments due to a hardship stemming from COVID-19.

“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.

The bill has the backing of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and is being sponsored in the assembly by Jeffrey Dinowitz from the Bronx.

This legislation, according to Senate and Assembly Democrats, is the strongest bill in the nation that blocks eviction proceedings.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill.

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