Are you facing eviction during COVID-19? Today we had a question from a man at Fort Drum. He wants to know if he can be evicted during the Coronavirus pandemic.
There are two levels to always consider when we’re talking about the impact of COVID-19. One level is what’s the federal government mandating and the other is state level mandates. In this case New York State is prohibiting evictions no matter what the reason. Whether you’re unemployed as a result of the Coronavirus, whether you’re ill, or whether your circumstances are ok but for some reason you’re unable to make your rent payment. It’s a 90-day window that the NO EVICTIONS policy is in place – up through June 19th, 2020. Although the Governor is facing scrutiny that the moratorium on evictions should extend beyond that date to give people the opportunity to recover from the lock down.
An Albany paper article issued in early April details the structure of the mortatorium. NYS Attorney General Letitia James makes a clear statement here that evictions during this time frame are absolutely illegal. If however it’s federal housing, the federal government is not subject to NYS mandates. The federal government does not have to follow the eviction moratorium NY has put in place.
What about previous or pending eviction notices?
If you had a pending eviction case those proceedings have been temporarily adjourned. If you recently received a notice of eviction, that by itself is not enough for your landlord to evict you; a landlord must get an order from the court to legally evict a tenant, even if their lease has expired or they are behind on rent. Now that evictions are halted, the moratorium defers those proceedings and temporarily protects tenants.
Should you still try to pay?
Yes. Ultimately you’re still held responsible for those rent payments. The eviction moratorium doesn’t cancel out your rent payments. While you cannot be evicted legally during this 90-day window up through June 19th – you’ll still need at some point to make those payments. So make what you can when you can – do your very best to keep up. Once the moratorium is lifted, those payments will be staring you in the face. Your landlord can then file a nonpayment case against you as the tenant, once the moratorium is lifted.
Your Landlord may still try to evict you
Just because the moratorium is in place doesn’t mean your landlord won’t still try to evict you before June 20th. Document anything and everything that’s going on, all communications with your landlord, etc. Then email me and I can walk you through what you need to do next.
Joe Stanley is a personal injury attorney with Stanley Law Offices, based in Syracuse, NY. The firm also has offices in Watertown, Rochester, Binghamton, and Montrose, PA. You can email any questions about an eviction you’re facing during COVID-19 or any other impact of the lock down to your livelihood, family, well-being, work, etc to Joe@StanleyLawOffices.com. FREE Consultation at 1-800-608-3333. Stanley. Stanley Law. We’ll be there for you.