COVID-19 Information for New York
The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.
State and Local Affiliates
Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.
State Legal and Regulatory Information
We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.
All regions of New York have entered Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan. Under Phase 4, non-essential businesses may reopen per capacity adjustments and health guidelines.
Face Mask Mandate
Governor Cuomo ordered that any person over the age of 2 must wear a mask in public indoor or outdoor space.
State of Emergency
Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on March 13, 2020.
Status: Eviction Cases & Enforcement Suspended
- Action: Supreme Court Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks released revised guidance for addressing evictions effective October 12, 2020.
- Description: Suspends statutory time limits of for commencement, filing, and service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process, or proceedings. So long as the suspension of time limits continues, no default judgment may be entered due to a failure to respond to a petition by a renter in an eviction matter. Further hearing of an eviction proceeding remains subject to local court circumstances and health/safety assessments for courthouse use.
- State Law and Executive Order: “Evictions of residential tenants who meet criteria set forth in the Tenant Safe Harbor Act (L. 2020, c. 127), as modified by Executive Order 202.66 (Attachment C), are prohibited through January 1, 2021 (the date specified in EO 202.66). This prohibition now bars the execution or enforcement of residential warrants of eviction or judgments of possession without regard to their date of issuance. Two aspects of the Executive Order’s modification of the Act are noteworthy: the scope of the Tenant Safe Harbor Act is limited to nonpayment cases, while EO 202.66 applies to “any residential tenant;” and the Act prohibits issuance of warrants of eviction and judgments of possession, while the EO prohibits “execution or enforcement” of such judgments and warrants. This terminology may require future judicial interpretation.”
- CDC Order: “The Centers for Disease Control order of September 4, 2020 (Attachment D) prohibits eviction of any “covered person” from residential property for nonpayment of rent through December 31, 2020. The CDC order defines covered persons as tenants or residents who file a declaration with their landlord affirming that they meet specified income limits and other financial and COVID-related requirements. The order allows eviction for reasons other than nonpayment, including damaging the premises, threatening the health and safety of others, violating building codes, and the like.”
- Action: Prevents the execution or enforcement of a judgement for possession or a warrant of possession, including cases where a judgement or warrant was granted prior to March 7, 2020.
- Duration: This order will be in effect through January 1, 2021.
- Action: Prohibits the issuance of warrants of eviction or judgments for possession against a residential tenant that has suffered a financial hardship for the non-payment of rent that accrues or becomes due during the COVID-19 covered period.
- COVID-19 Covered Period: “March 7, 2020 until the date on which none of the provisions that closed or otherwise restricted public or private businesses or places of public accommodation, or required postponement or cancellation of all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason in Executive Orders 202.3, 202.4, 202.5, 202.6, 202.7, 202.8, 202.10, 202.11, 202.13 or 202.14, as extended by Executive Orders 202.28 and 202.31 and as further extended by any future Executive Order, issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to apply in the county of the tenant's or lawful occupant's residence.”
- COVID-19 Financial Hardship: A lawful occupant may raise financial hardship due to COVID-19 as a defense in a summary proceeding under article 7 of the real property actions and proceedings law. The court shall consider the following factors to determine hardship: the tenant’s income prior to COVID-19 covered period; the tenant’s income during the covered period; the tenant’s liquid assets; and the tenant’s eligibility for cash assistance, SNAP, supplemental security income, New York state disability program, the home energy assistance program, or unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law.
Executive Order No. 202.8 (Expired)
- Action: Prohibits initiating of a civil proceeding or enforcement of residential evictions through August 20 for nonpayment of rent or renters eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or otherwise facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Suspends sections of the Real Property Law to provide that no landlord, lessor, sub-lessor or grantor shall demand or be entitled to any payment, fee or charge for late payment of rent occurring during the time period from March 20, 2020, through August 20, 2020.
- Scope: Enforcement of writs of possession and eviction filings prohibited.
- COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: Protections available for those experiencing hardship due to COVID-19, but this is not a requirement for protection under the order.
- Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.
- Action: Supreme Court Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks issued a memo outlining revised procedure for addressing residential and commercial eviction proceedings in light of The Tenant Safe Harbor Act’s passage and the expiration of the state’s eviction moratorium issued by Governor Cuomo.
- Procedures: The court must hold a status or settlement conference before any further action of residential eviction proceedings that commenced prior to March 17, 2020. The conference will address “a range of subjects related to the case and COVID- 19 concerns, including the availability of relief under the New York Tenant Safe Harbor Act (L. 2020, c. 127) and other state or federal edicts.” After the conference, the court “may take whatever further steps it deems appropriate, including deciding any pending motion, entertaining other applications, or allowing the matter to move forward in the normal course.” No residential eviction may take place prior to October 1, 2020, unless there is further state or federal moratoriums issued by the state or Congress.
- See the order for additional information.
Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a COVID-19 rental assistance program for New Yorkers who are in need.
The emergency rental assistance program aims to provide direct aid to low-income tenants who lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic. Through the program eligible households will receive a one-time rental subsidy, which will be paid directly to housing providers.
The program is open to households that rent apartments, single-family homes, manufactured homes and manufactured home lots, according to the governor's office.
Residents are not required to repay the emergency rental assistance program. The governor's office says the program is funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act.
In order to qualify for the program, applicants must meet all of the requirements below:
- You must be a renter with a primary residence in New York State.
- Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, household income (including unemployment benefits) must be below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size. Applicants can find the Area Median Income for their county, based on household size, on HCR's website here.
- Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, the household must have been "rent burdened," which is defined as paying more than 30 percent of gross monthly income towards rent.
- Applicants must have lost income during any period between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
- The application period will be open for two weeks. Residents can apply any time during the two-week period.
No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Please refer to the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 for the state’s Rent Stabilization Law.
Under New York Code § 396-r, it is unlawful for any individual within a supply chain to sell or offer goods or services at an unconscionably excessive price during a state of emergency. Excessive pricing is determined through comparison of pricing prior to the declaration of emergency as well as pricing of similar items in neighboring communities. The statutory language specifically distinguishes milk as a covered good under this regulation but does not distinguish any further goods or services.
Local Legal and Regulatory Information
Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the lives of community members, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) has worked with funders to establish the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. The program is designed to provide rent relief for up to three months to eligible households who have experienced a loss of income related to the public health crisis.
This assistance will be available to renters who meet income limits in Schuyler, Seneca, Tioga, and Tompkins Counties. Please be advised that your landlord will need to agree to participate in this program and properties will need to meet condition requirements.
Funds will be distributed on a first eligible, first served basis. INHS tenants are welcome to apply but will not receive priority. If you need assistance in completing the application or you need translation services, contact Amber Compton at [email protected].
This program has been made possible through re-purposed grant funds previously awarded to INHS through the Tompkins County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, and the New York State HOME Local Program, and through a supplemental award provided by the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency’s (IURA) Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV).
New York City
- Action: Directive addressing how courts will handle “pre-pandemic” proceedings. Pending matters filed after March 16, 2020 are subject to the orders of New York Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks.
- Warrants of Eviction: “On August 20, 2020, the Court will begin accepting requisitions for warrants of eviction based on judgments of possession that were issued before March 17, 2020. All such requisitions must be presented by motion on notice to the respondent. Such a motion shall suffice to comply with the conference requirement contained in AO 160/20. All such motions shall require the inclusion of a Notice to Respondent Tenant, in the form attached as Exh. A to this directive, to be served by mail as well as email wherever possible. Consistent with AO 160/20, any eviction ordered under this section shall not take place prior to October 1, 2020. It is anticipated that these motions will be heard remotely.”
- Execution of Warrants: “Beginning August 20, 2020, a petitioner seeking to enforce a warrant of eviction that was issued before March 17, 2020 must seek leave of court by motion on notice to respondent. Such a motion shall suffice to comply with the conference requirement contained in AO 160/20. All such motions shall require the inclusion of a Notice to Respondent Tenant in the form attached as Exh. A to this directive, to be served by mail, as well as email wherever possible. Consistent with AO 160/20, any eviction ordered under this section shall not take place prior to October 1, 2020. It is anticipated that these motions will be heard remotely.”
- Appearance Defaults: “In all matters where issue has been joined and the Court has jurisdiction over the parties, counsel and/or parties are expected to be present for court noticed appearances. Noticed appearances may include virtual or in-person conferences or trials. If an attorney and/or party fails to appear for a court noticed conference or trial without excuse, the judge presiding over such appearance may exercise his or her discretion to address the unexcused absence. The judge may, among other available remedies, reschedule the appearance with a “final” marking, resolve issues or claims against the nonappearing party, impose sanctions, or issue a judgment of contempt. All applications to be excused from a court ordered appearance must be made on the record before the court or by affidavit/affirmation.
- Document Defaults: “Filing of answers in residential eviction proceedings is presently controlled by Administrative Orders 160/20 and 121/20. Moreover, submission of motion documents in pending proceedings is governed by Administrative Order 115/20, which authorized the Electronic Document Delivery System (EDDS). EDDS remains available until further order. Consistent with Administrative Orders 160/20 and 115/20, no adverse action (i.e., no defaults) shall be taken based upon the failure to file an answer in an eviction proceeding, or based upon the failure of a party to submit responsive papers to a motion submitted through EDDS, absent specific order of the Court.”