Evictions Protections During COVID

This page was adapted from an article by Right to Counsel NYC

Please note: Things are always changing. Please keep checking back for updates. This page was last updated on April 24, 2022.

Can I Be Evicted?

Most likely NOT if you TAKE ACTION.

Apply for New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) – If you have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and missed any rent at your current residence since March 13, 2020, you could be eligible to receive funds to pay your back rent. If you applied for ERAP and your landlord attempts to bring you to court for nonpayment, your pending ERAP application can pause your case until it is processed. 

If you are found eligible for ERAP and the landlord accepts the money:

  • Landlords can’t sue for money covered by ERAP in a non payment case. 
  • Landlords can’t sue for no-cause holdovers for 1 year EXCEPT in buildings with 4 units or less where the landlord/family member wants to immediately occupy it and EXCEPT where the Landlord says the tenant intentionally causes significant property damage or the tenant persistently engages in behavior that infringes on other tenants or creates a substantial safety hazard to others. 

The Tenant Safe Harbor Act allows tenants to raise COVID-related financial hardship as a defense in their non-payment cases, if they are sued for money owed between March 7, 2020, and January 15, 2022. Tenants have to show in court that they were hurt financially by COVID-19. If the court decides the tenant proved their financial hardship, then landlords can’t evict for this money owed. But they can still start eviction cases and get money judgments in court.

What happened to New York’s eviction moratorium?

Governor Kathy Hochul let the NYS Eviction Moratorium expire. You still have protections. Do not move out!

If you applied for ERAP, your pending ERAP application can stop your eviction case from moving forward.

I Have an Upcoming Court Date for My Eviction Case, What Should I Do?

For NYC tenants, the Right to Counsel law means you should be able to get a lawyer for your court date. Call Housing Court Answers at 212-962-4795 for a referral to a free legal service provider or call the NYC Tenant Helpline at 311.

If you are unable to find a lawyer before your first court date, you can ask for and are entitled to an adjournment to seek counsel to get more time to find a lawyer. You may also ask the judge for assigned counsel to have an available lawyer assigned to you.

What if I Can’t Pay My Rent?

You are not alone. Over a million New Yorkers cannot pay rent. NYS now has a rental relief program, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis so if you believe you are eligible, apply ASAP!

What if My Landlord Locks Me Out Illegally?

If you are a NYC tenant, you can file at an emergency court room to be let back into your home. Call Housing Court Answers at 212-962-4795 for a referral to a free legal service provider.

Can My Landlord Try to Vacate My Unit?

Vacate orders are issued when an apartment is dangerous or illegal, and only city agencies can issue them. Landlords are not legally empowered to directly issue vacate orders. During this crisis, we would expect vacate orders to be rare — in response to truly dangerous situations or as the result of a fire. Once a vacate order is issued, tenants have the right to access relocation services provided by City agencies.