Tenants Also Permitted to Use Security Deposits for Rent
In an expected move after receiving pressure from other State and City elected officials, Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order that extends the eviction moratorium that was put in place in late March.
During his daily press conference on Thursday, May 7th, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.28, which addresses evictions and foreclosures, as well as security deposits, and late fees. The following is a summary of the executive order:
• The existing eviction moratorium, which was put in place on March 20, 2020, has been extended an additional 60 days until August 20, 2020. During this moratorium, there can be no court proceedings or enforcement of an eviction of any residential or commercial tenant for non-payment of rent, or foreclosure of any residential or commercial mortgage, “owned or rented by someone that is eligible for unemployment benefits under state or federal law or otherwise facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
• Upon the consent of the tenant, owners may enter into written agreements with tenants to use security deposits to pay rent that either in arrears or which will become due. If the deposit is less than the amount due, the agreement does not constitute a waiver of the rent due.
• Owners are prohibited from harassing or engaging in other such conduct to compel such an agreement.
• Tenants are required, beginning no less than 90 days from the date that the security deposit is used, to replenish the security deposit, to be paid at the rate of 1/12th of the amount per month.
• The tenant has the option of using security deposit insurance as an alternative to replenishment, which the owner must accept. RSA members and their tenants are encouraged to consider RSA’s partnership with Rhino. Please visit https://bit.ly/3bhgixc for more information.
• Owners are prohibited from charging late fees for the late payment of rent between March 20, 2020 and August 20, 2020.
As a reminder, beginning April 14, 2020, Housing Court began hearing so-called “non-essential matters” where both sides represented by counsel can be conferenced or otherwise resolved with a Housing Court Judge via Skype. These matters do not and will not at any point through August 20th include eviction proceedings.
With regard to how Housing Court will handle non-payment cases following the conclusion of the eviction moratorium, Governor Cuomo acknowledged that no decisions have been made and additional information will be provided as we near that date. We will keep you apprised of subsequent developments with regard to the eviction moratorium and Housing Court.
In the meantime, RSA has created sample documents for RSA members to use when attempting to address rent payments with tenants (see page 9). If you have any questions now, we encourage you to reach out to your attorney.