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Landlord-Tenant COVID-19 FAQ's

1. Can a tenant be evicted if there is pending eviction date?

No, the State placed a 90-day moratorium on all evictions. This applies to both

residential and commercial tenants.

2. Has the State issued a freeze/suspension for monthly rental payments?

No, currently there is only a suspension for homeowners unable to make mortgage

payments due to COVID-19.

3. What relief, if any, can renters expect in the event they cannot make their payments?

Senate Bill S8125A which was introduced on March 23rd proposes a 90-day rent freeze

for all renters who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. It would also freeze payments for

businesses who were forced to close due to the government mandate.

4. What should a tenant do if their lease is about to expire?

If Senate Bill S8125A is signed into law, it will also require landlords to renew any leases

expiring within 90-days at the same rent rate. Absent this law, it is in the best interests

of both landlord and tenant to reach a mutual agreement for a lease renewal/extension.

5. What should a tenant do if their lease is expiring and the landlord refuses to offer a

renewal?

As mentioned above, landlords are currently prohibited from evicting tenants. If a

tenant remains in the premises past the expiration of a lease term, a month-to-month

tenancy will have been established.

6. Is it advisable for a landlord to issue a short-term renewal to tenant (non-regulated)

with an upcoming lease expiration?

It is certainly advisable for landlords to provide short-term renewals as opposed to

simply letting a lease term lapse. Our office has been working with many of our clients

to draft short term renewals with creative mutual termination options.

7. Can a landlord commence legal action against a tenant?

NY Housing Courts are essentially in a standstill and currently only accepting “essential

applications” such as landlord lockouts, repair orders, and serious housing code

violations.

8. Does this include non-pay cases?

While landlords are unable to serve a tenant with a petition to appear in court for nonpayment

of rent, they can still serve tenants with rent demands and 14-day notices. This

will allow the landlord to proceed directly with a petition once the Housing Courts are

reopened.

9. What happens if a tenant signed a lease and is now unable to move in by the

commencement date?

Unfortunately, this a very common scenario in today’s times. While there is no clear-cut

directive on how to hand this situation, it is important for both landlord and tenant to

maintain a level of flexibility and work together towards a solution which makes life

easier for everyone. This may include amending the lease commencement date as well

as providing the tenant with an abatement until they can take possession.

10. Should a tenant inform their landlord that they will be unable to make rent

payments?

Absolutely. Regardless if you are unable to make either a portion of or the entire rent

payment, as a tenant you should certainly communicate this to your landlord with the

hope that they will be sympathetic and understanding. Communication is key during

these times.

11. Are movers deemed “essential” under the PAUSE executive order?

Yes, as per Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, moving companies are deemed essential

and the current guidance permits you to hire one should you require it.

12. Is there any sort of relief for landlords who are losing rent revenue?

Fannie Mae has stated they will suspend mortgage payments for all multi-family

landlords who suspend evictions. Furthermore, should Senate Bill S8125A be signed into

law, it would allow landlords to apply for a mortgage waiver equal to the amount lost in

rent.


Ivana Lo Stimolo

CNE, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson