In late March, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a moratorium on evictions throughout New York State. While the move was welcomed by tenants who feared being evicted during the coronavirus pandemic, it didn’t stop cases for eviction from being filed in New York courts. This strange situation, where landlords can file to evict their tenants but can’t carry out the eviction, has caused confusion among landlords and tenants alike about what is permissible during the moratorium.
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a highly infectious disease that can cause severe respiratory problems in anyone infected with it. Most states, including New York, have implemented various quarantine measures to attempt to curtail the spread of the disease, but this has caused the side effect of putting many people out of work for the duration of the pandemic. As a result, many workers are now struggling to feed their families and pay their bills, despite enhanced unemployment benefits that have also been implemented.
To prevent people from being forced onto the street at a time when the government is encouraging people to stay home, Governor Cuomo announced the moratorium on evictions, meaning landlords cannot legally remove people from their apartments right now. However, this has caused confusion as landlords could still initiate the preliminary steps of evicting their tenants, even if they can’t currently enforce an eviction. Worse still, some landlords have resorted to other means to attempt to evict their tenants despite the moratorium. This has resulted in calls from legislators to suspend eviction filings as well, to make sure tenants aren’t taken advantage of during the pandemic.
If you are a tenant and your landlord is violating the terms of your lease or seeking to evict you, the Suffolk County tenant attorneys at McGuire, Peláez & Bennett can ensure that your rights are protected. We will raise the appropriate defenses to any action commenced, including a breach of your warranty of habitability (landlord not providing you with suitable living conditions) and seek abatement (offset) of rent. If you or your loved one is facing eviction, contact the Suffolk County tenant attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.