MELS UPDATE: COVID-19 Eviction Protection and Rent Hardship

DC 37’s Municipal Employees Legal Services (MELS) is here to help members with housing and rent hardship needs. Although New York City remains on pause through at least May 15, 2020 and Courthouses remain closed, the Office of Court Administration is accepting emergency applications where there has been an eviction, illegal lockout, interruption in essential services or emergency conditions that need repair. Contact MELS at (212) 815-1111 or email KGomez@dc37.net if you need emergency relief from the Housing Court or would like to speak with an attorney about a housing or rent hardship matter.

● Executive Order No. 202.8, signed on March 20, 2020, bars all evictions and foreclosures in New York State through June 18, 2020.

● Executive Order No. 202.28, signed on May 7, 2020, allows tenants impacted by COVID-19 to temporarily use their security deposit toward their rent obligations, bars landlords from charging late fees between March 20 and August 20, 2020 and stays foreclosures and evictions for non-payment of rent against persons impacted by COVID-19 for an additional 60 days from June 20, 2020 to August 19, 2020.

COVID-19 FINANCIAL HARDSHIP SECURITY DEPOSIT OPTION

Under Executive Order No. 202.28, landlords and residential tenants may enter into a written agreement by which the security deposit and any interest on the deposit can be used to pay rent that is due or will become due. This agreement can be executed by e-mail.

Any tenant who requests this relief is eligible for it if they are eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or are otherwise facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the tenant’s option to enter into such an agreement and landlords shall not harass, threaten or engage in any harmful act to compel such agreement. However, any security deposit used as a payment of rent must be replenished by the tenant at the rate of 1/12 the amount used as rent per month.

The payments to replenish the security deposit shall become due and owing no less than 90 days from the date of the use of the security deposit as rent.

The tenant may, at their sole option, retain renter’s insurance that provides relief for the landlord in lieu of paying back the security deposit and the landlord must accept such insurance as replenishment of the security deposit. If you have any questions about whether you are eligible to use your security deposit towards your rent or how to replenish the security deposit, please contact MELS at (212) 815-1111 or email KGomez@dc37.net for assistance.

COVID-19 FINANCIAL HARDSHIP EVICTION PROTECTION

Under Executive Order No. 202.48, where an apartment or property is owned or rented by someone that is eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law or otherwise facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no evictions or new eviction proceedings for any tenant for nonpayment of rent and there will be no foreclosures or new foreclosure actions on any mortgage for nonpayment of such mortgage for a period of 60 days beginning on June 20, 2020 and ending on August 19, 2020. If you receive any notices from your landlord or a city marshal or notices from the court at any time, you should contact MELS at (212) 815-1111 or email KGomez@dc37.net immediately for assistance.

LATE FEES BARRED

Executive Order No. 202.48, no landlord is entitled to or should ask for any fee or charge for late payment of rent occurring between March 20, 2020 and August 20, 2020.

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