Courts Reopening

Created by Right to Counsel NYC

Are Courts Open?

Kind of. As of June 22, Landlords can sue, but mostly only by mail. Tenants can sue for repairs and illegal lockouts, electronically or in person.

Can Evictions Start?

NO. Thanks to the courts, not Cuomo, the eviction moratorium is STILL in effect. It’s in effect indefinitely but at least until Oct 1st.

Will I have a Court Date?

Most likely, no. There a small number of trials in Brooklyn Housing Court starting July 27. It’s possible you could have a virtual court date.

When will evictions start?

As per the State Court’s directives (March 16 & June 18 & July 8): there are no evictions for any tenant for any reason, across NY State, until further notice. But once evictions are permitted to go forward, per a court directive, here’s a tentative timeline:

Earliest Evictions

Tenants with pre-existing warrants: 14 days after the court’s moratorium lifts.

Evictions from new cases

Months from now

When can landlords start suing tenants for eviction?

  • Earliest Date for Landlord Lawsuits
  • Nonpayment Case:June 22
  • Holdover Cases June 22

Once an eviction proceeding begins, when/where will the court dates be?

Earliest Court Date

  • First Court Date: Not before August 6. This court date will be virtual (phone, skype, etc.) Tenant is screened for/matched with an attorney.
  • Second Court Date: The adjournment before this second date will be long. Could have a virtual hearing.
  • In person court dates: There are no in person court dates for now. We aren’t sure when they’ll start again.

Impact of the Tenant Debt Collection Act (aka Safe Harbor Act) 

  • This Act will only impact tenants after the courts start moving eviction cases forward (at the earliest, on August 6).
  • When that happens, tenants who are sued for rent owed between March 7 until we enter stage 4 of the reopening (will vary county by county and some counties are already in stage 4), can raise COVID-19 financial hardship as a defense. If the court decides the tenant proved their financial hardship, the landlord would not be able to evict but can win a money judgement.
  • Marshals/sheriffs will still be able to evict tenants in holdover cases and in non-payment cases where the tenant can’t show COVID-19 financial hardship. 
  • Tenants who had eviction warrants pre-COVID will not be protected from eviction by this law. 
  • Tenants who owe rent from before March 7 or after Phase 4 begins will not be protected from eviction by this law.