EVICTIONS PROTECTIONS DURING COVID:
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
See also our Chart about the Courts, New + Pending Cases + More
REMEMBER: You can always call the Housing Court Answers hotline at 212-962-4795 for individual advice and support.
THE EVICTION PROTECTIONS EXPIRED ON JANUARY 15TH. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? CAN I BE EVICTED?
Up until January 15th, there was a law that said that if you filed a Hardship Declaration, you could not be evicted. This law ended and eviction cases and evictions can now move forward.
However, there are still some COVID related protections that may apply to you:
New York's Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) - if you apply for ERAP your landlord cannot start a new eviction case against you and any current eviction case will be paused while you wait for your ERAP application to be 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.
I HAVE AN UPCOMING COURT DATE FOR MY EVICTION CASE, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Don’t move out. Fight your eviction! The expiration of the tenant protections on 1/15 DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO MOVE. FIGHT TO STAY.
Use Right to Counsel to fight your eviction. NYC tenants: Call 718-557-1379 or 212-962-4795 from Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm to get connected to a RTC attorney. Remember that almost all tenants who fight their cases with an RTC attorney win.
In areas outside of NYC, especially in areas without separate courts for housing, you should call the court to confirm if your date has been scheduled. For more information, call your local tenant organization or 833-503-0447 for assistance.
WHAT IF I CAN'T PAY MY RENT?
You are not alone. Over a million New Yorkers cannot pay rent. NYS has a COVID-19 rental relief program, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP):
- Application: https://otda.ny.gov/ERAP
- RENTAL ASSISTANCE APPLICATION HOTLINE: 1-844-NY1-RENT (1-844-691-7368)
- List of what you need to apply
- Video on how to apply
- List of Groups who can help you apply for rental assistance
- Informational Flyer
Also, in NYC, tenants can apply to the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) for a One Shot Deal to cover rent arrears. This can be helpful if you don’t get money through ERAP or if ERAP assistance doesn’t cover all of the rent you owe. To get a One Shot Deal, you do not have to show that your rent debt is related to the pandemic. You may also qualify for an ongoing rent subsidy under the City’s FHEPS program. Getting a Right to Counsel lawyer is a good way to access all these types of rental assistance.
WHAT IF MY LANDLORD LOCKS ME OUT ILLEGALLY?
If you are a NYC tenant, you can file an emergency case in court and a judge can order the landlord to let you back into your home. Call Housing Court Answers at 212-962-4795 for a referral to a free legal service provider.
If you are a tenant outside of NYC, please call your local legal services organization and active tenants union/tenant organization as soon as possible after the lockout.
HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
In NYC, call Housing Court Answers, 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday: 212-962-4795 or 718-557-1379. Calls are answered directly in Spanish, English and French, and interpreters are used for all other languages through the LanguageLine translation service.
Statewide hotline: 833-503-0447, open 24/7. They can answer questions in all languages with interpreters. This is a referral line only -- hotline workers aren’t able to answer specific legal questions, but they will be able to direct you to the courts, clerks offices and other resources in your region. If you don’t get through the first time, keep trying!
In the Capital District and in Upstate NY, you can call United Tenants of Albany's Housing Hotline, 9am-5pm Monday-Friday at (518) 436-8997, ext. 3 for referrals and guidance about your housing questions. For speakers of languages other than English, interpreting services are available through LanguageLine.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
- Sign our petition urging the state legislature to pass Right to Counsel for ALL.
- Come to our Town Hall on January 27th at 6:30pm to learn about the Right to Counsel for ALL legislation, why tenants need it statewide, and how having the RIGHT to a FREE lawyer can help stop evictions.
- Call your Assembly Member and Senator TODAY and make sure they sponsor our legislation for Statewide Right to Counsel! Find talking points here!
#2: Get involved with a local tenant organizing group to join the movement to fight for what we need.