Without a moratorium on evictions, here are the protections tenants still have
Long Island tenants can still have two protections / to avoid being evicted from their home even though the United States Supreme Court has ruled against federal and state eviction moratoria.
The court noted Thursday that the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control does not have the power to ban residential evictions in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates, including Long Island. The New York state eviction moratorium was struck down by the court in mid-August because the policy protected tenants solely on the basis of their allegations of hardship.
As state lawmakers consider passing new protections, landlords are once again appealing to the courts for permission to evict tenants. These tenants have two main defenses, the lawyers said. Long Islanders seeking rent relief will see eviction cases frozen while their documents are processed. Under a state law that is still in effect, tenants who can prove that a COVID-related hardship caused them to miss rent cannot be evicted for those specific debts.
“The [housing] the court calendar, as you can imagine, can only hold a limited number of cases, ”said Sharon Campo, spokesperson for Nassau Suffolk Law Services, which provides free legal services to those who do. need. to listen [a new] case for a while because everything is so crowded. “
Typically, tenants who receive a demand letter or demand for missed rent have at least 61 days before sheriffs can proceed with a court-approved eviction, according to a schedule from Nassau Suffolk Law Services. But many cases are resolved through mediation or settlement long before sheriffs get involved, according to Bradley Schnur, a Jericho-based lawyer who represents tenants and landlords.
Residents of Long Island who apply for federal rent assistance from the state – or the towns of Islip, Oyster Bay and Hempstead which distribute their share of federal rent assistance – will not be evicted until their request is pending. Landlords who accept the aid cannot evict tenants during the months it covers. Landlords who refuse help will find it difficult to evict tenants for unpaid rent, but may try to evict them on the grounds that their leases have expired, Campo said.
“Tenants who owe money because of the pandemic, they must apply to the [Emergency Rental Assistance Program]”Campo said.” This is the best advice. “
Tenants may also be granted protection through the state’s Safe Harbor for Tenants Act, which will not allow tenants to be evicted if they have not paid their rent due to ‘a setback linked to the pandemic, Schnur said. The law protects those who experience difficulties from March 7, 2020, until all restrictions related to the pandemic are lifted, according to Lucian Chalfen, spokesperson for the Office of Courts Administration. Tenants will always be responsible for the accumulated rent.
“It is the tenant‘s responsibility to prove [hardship]Schnur said. “The tenant should have documents in place if he has perceived unemployment; if they had a business, if their business was closed; things of that nature. “