Please be advised that RSA’s physical office has re-opened as of Monday, June 22nd. In light of ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) concerns, as well as New York City's gradual re-opening process through the end of July, RSA will be taking various precautions with how we conduct business for the near future.
Here's what you should know:
1. Most RSA staff have returned. The RSA general phone number is up and running for assistance and you may also reach out to a particular staff member if you know their direct number.
2. At this time, we are discouraging office visits. Although you may begin making appointments with RSA counselors again, we ask that you do not do so unless it is an absolute emergency to conduct a meeting in person. Most importantly, we ask that if you are currently sick, not feeling well, or are uncomfortable commuting to our office, that you do not come into the office at all. You may still arrange to have appointments via phone call or email rather than coming in-person.
3. If you are able to secure an in-person appointment, it is absolutely mandatory that you wear a mask when entering the office and keep it on while meeting with an RSA staff member. Furthermore, the building will not let you enter the premises without a mask on.
4. We encourage hand washing upon entering our office and we also have hand sanitizer readily available for your convenience.
5. Please be advised that pending building regulations, you might be required to have your temperature taken upon arrival.
6. As New York City continues to advance into Phases 3 and 4 over the next month, we will re-evaluate our office requirements.
The health and safety of our members and our staff is our number one priority. We ask for your patience as we slowly but surely return back to a sense of normalcy. Please be on the lookout for additional updates via email blast.
We thank you in advance.
COVID Rent Relief Program
Applications for the COVID Rent Relief Program are available as of July 16, 2020 and are administered through DHCR. The COVID Rent Relief Program provides eligible households with a one-time rental subsidy that will be sent directly to the property owner (applicants will not have to repay the rental assistance). As a result, we strongly encourage our members to notify their tenants about the application process if they meet the eligibility criteria.
The rental assistance payment will cover the difference between the tenant's rent burden on March 1, 2020 and the increase in rent burden for the months the households is applying for assistance. Tenants can apply for up to four months in rental assistance.
Eligible tenants must meet the following criteria:
- Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, a tenant's household income must have been below 80% of the area median income, adjusted for household size. Applicants can find their county's area median income, based on their household size, by clicking here.
- Before March 1, 2020 and at the time of application, the tenant must have been paying more than 30% of gross monthly income towards rent. Gross income includes wages, as well as any cash grants, such as child support, social security, unemployment benefits, etc.
- Applicants must have lost income during the period of April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.
- Click here for FAQs with more information. If you scroll down, the FAQs are also translated into Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Haitian Creole, and Bengali.
Again, not only is this a tremendous boost for tenants who are in need of immediate rental assistance, but this is extremely helpful for RSA members who may have low-income tenants financially impacted by the pandemic.
We will send out frequent reminders over the next few weeks while funding is still available. We highly recommend that you share this information with your tenants as soon as possible.
COVID-19 General Guidance
Rental property owners should continue to display the most up to date COVID-19 flyers in your buildings. The most recent flyer is available on the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's (DOHMH) website and is translated into over a dozen languages. To view the available languages, click here and locate your preferred language under "Stop the Spread of Coronavirus Flyer." To directly access the English language version of the flyer, please click here.
DOHMH has also compiled a list of frequently asked questions for residential building property owners.
Rent Guidelines Board Order 52
One-year lease: 0%
Two-year lease: 0% for year one, 1% increase for year two
Special Guideline Maximum Base Rent (MBR) + 39%
No sublet allowance
For more information, click here to visit the RGB’s website. We will have additional information in the July/August 2020 issue of the RSA Reporter.
In order to accommodate the escalating increase for the second year of the lease, DHCR has issued a new renewal lease form, Renewal Lease Form (RTP-8). Although the new form was created to accommodate RGB Order No. 52, it is now the most recent DHCR Renewal Lease Form and should be used for all renewal leases going forward.
New York State Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks has issued Administrative Order 121/20, which negatively impacts upon the ability of owners to commence non-payment and holdover proceedings upon the planned re-opening of the housing courts on Monday, June 22.
The restrictions contained in the Order, which are summarized below, are in addition to the restrictions on eviction proceedings that are contained in the federal Cares Act and Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive orders. According to Judge Marks, "we remain concerned about the adverse public health consequences that may arise from a sudden high-volume influx of eviction matters ... and necessitating in-court appearances."
The first portion of the Order addresses technical requirements relating to the documents initiating housing court proceedings. The Order provides that the documents must be filed with the housing court using e-filing (which has not yet been implemented) or by mail. Further, petitions in commercial and residential eviction cases "for non-payment of rent or other grounds" must include two additional documents, one of which requires that the owner's attorney "believes in good faith" that the proceeding is not precluded by federal or State restrictions (i.e., that the tenant is not COVID-19 impacted) and the other informs the tenant that the tenant may be eligible for an extension of time to respond due to the pandemic. Based upon the phrase "non-payment of rent or other grounds," these requirements apply both to non-payment proceedings and holdover proceedings.
Most importantly, the second portion of Judge Marks' order provides that once a new case is commenced, "further hearing of the case shall be stayed until such time" as the Governor's executive orders expire. Executive Order 202.28, the order currently in effect relating to housing court proceedings, is due to expire on August 20, 2020 which means that newly-commenced cases will be stayed until that date. In the meantime, the only cases the housing court will address are cases commenced on or before March 16, 2020 in which both parties are represented by counsel; according to the order, those cases "shall be eligible for calendaring for virtual settlement conferences."
The stay of new proceedings is both frustrating and disturbing. While the commencement of many cases is precluded until July 25th under the Cares Act and August 20th under the Governor's Executive Order, other cases would have been eligible to be commenced on June 22nd. Judge Marks' order not only discourages the commencement of new cases but, also, leaves open the question as to what, if anything, will transpire while new cases which are commenced are stayed.
Will those cases simply stagnate until August 20th and beyond? Will unrepresented tenants be provided with attorneys under the right to counsel program? Will new cases that are stayed be referred to HRA for "one-shot" payments? Will new cases with attorneys on both sides be calendared for virtual settlement conferences, which the order provides will happen for cases which were commenced on or before March 16th?
As of this point we do not know the answers to these and other questions relating to Judge Marks' order. We will keep you apprised of any further developments.
On July 10th, DHCR updated Advisory Opinion 2020-4 "Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance” with respect to processing and other procedures affecting the Office of Rent Administration (ORA) and Tenant Protection Unit (TPU).
All agency matters that were not final as of March 13, 2020, are extended until August 6, 2020. DHCR will be re-examining the need to further extend these deadlines as the situation evolves. We will keep you apprised on further developments.
Find Your Local Elected Official!
RSA’s top priority is to protect the best interests of the rental housing industry by advocating in the State and City governments.
Although our staff takes pride in advocating on behalf of residential property owners, it is important that you make your voices heard to your local elected officials as well.
Contact Your State Elected Officials - If you live outside of the five boroughs and you want to locate your state elected official.