FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
PLEASE ALSO READ:
- Additional Info on the Moratorium, Pre-Covid Cases, and Court Openings: English | Spanish
- FAQ on the CDC Moratorium
What does the eviction moratorium mean?
The Chief Administrative Judge of New York State issued a memo effective 5pm on Monday March 16, which states: "All eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders shall be suspended statewide until further notice." On August 12, the courts issued a new order extending the universal eviction moratorium until at least October 1, 2020.
This means that during this health crisis there will be NO EVICTIONS, FOR ANYONE, FOR ANY REASON. The moratorium applies to residential tenants in all types of housing.
Are there any exceptions to the moratorium?
No, there are no exceptions. You can’t be evicted for anything right now.
What if a sheriff’s or marshal’s lockout notice or warrant has already been issued?
The moratorium applies to all pre-existing orders. They have been suspended and you cannot be evicted.
In NYC, all city marshals have been notified that they can not execute any pre-existing warrants. If they attempt to violate this, please report this activity by calling the City’s Department of Investigation (DOI) Bureau of City Marshals at (212) 825-5953.
Outside of NYC, law enforcement entities should have been notified by the local courts. If you have a pending eviction notice, please call the agency listed on the warrant (i.e., County Sheriffs) to make sure they know the moratorium is in effect and that eviction has been suspended. Housing advocates across the state are making every effort to communicate with as many counties as possible to ensure full compliance with the moratorium.
I have an upcoming court date for my eviction case, what should I do?
If you had a case that started before March 17, the courts are scheduling court dates. You can appear virtually instead of in person. For anyone sued on or after March 17, all court dates for eviction cases will be postponed, and the court will mail you a notice with your new court date. We expect cases to be adjourned multiple times during the length of the crisis.
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 adjourned. For more information, call your local tenant organization or 833-503-0447 for assistance.
What if I can’t pay my rent?
Right now, you are still obligated to pay rent. As of June 22, landlords can start new evictions cases by mail or an e-filing system. However, there are no court dates for new cases until further notice and your landlord can’t evict you. We are working to push demands for a year long moratorium and to cancel rent, but we have not won them yet. To join that fight, learn more here.
If you entered into an agreement in court prior to the moratorium that required you to pay rent by a certain date and you can no longer make that payment, your landlord cannot call the marshal/sheriff/law enforcement agency to evict you as long as the moratorium is in effect. Once the moratorium is lifted, they will be able to move forward with eviction.
Please know that the order does not apply to rent demands. Landlords can still send you letters and rent demands for any rent they claim you owe during this time.
What if my landlord locks me out illegally?
If you are a NYC tenant, you can file a case at an emergency courtroom to be let back into your unit. The courts and the City are referring all post-eviction and illegal lockout cases to the Right to Counsel legal services organizations, regardless of where you live or your income.
If you are a tenant outside of NYC, landlord lockouts, including reductions in essential services, are essential matters that are still being addressed by specific designated courts. To find out which court has been designated to handle essential matters in your county, call the Statewide Hotline: 833-503-0447. Once you get connected to your designated courthouse, you can request an application for an order to show cause due to a landlord lockout and/or reduction in essential services. Please call your local Legal Services offices and active tenants’ unions/tenant organizations as soon as possible to seek assistance after a lockout.
Can my landlord try to vacate my unit?
All tenants are entitled to due process; only a judge can evict you. Because all evictions are suspended during this moratorium, your landlord cannot evict you.
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. Relocation services remain open during the crisis.
How do I get needed repairs from my landlord if courts are closed?
In NYC, you can still go to housing court for repairs. All other options to get repairs are still available, for instance by calling 311, applying to DHCR for a rent reduction, etc. However, please keep in mind that with closures increasing throughout the City and State, enforcement agencies may be working with limited staff, and it may take longer to get repairs or inspections.
Emergency repairs for NYC tenants include heat and hot water cases, vacates, access for heat and hot water, and other major emergencies, lead cases with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and/or violations for lead remediation.
If you are a tenant outside of NYC, serious code violations and/or serious repair orders are essential matters that are still being addressed by specific designated courts. To find out which court has been designated to handle essential matters in your county, call the Statewide Hotline: 833-503-0447. Once you get connected to your designated courthouse, you can request an application for an order to show cause due to serious code violations and/or serious repair orders. Please call your local Legal Services offices and active tenants unions/tenant organizations as soon as possible to seek assistance if you have serious code violations and/or serious repair orders.
How long will the eviction moratorium last?
The Court's most recent order extends the eviction moratorium until October 1, 2020. We are fighting for the moratorium to last as long as the public health crisis lasts.
What happens when the moratoriums ends?
If we don’t win additional demands like cancel rent before the end of the moratorium, then we are facing a massive eviction crisis. We are working hard to cancel rent, win a year long eviction moratorium, house the homeless and ensure Right to Counsel for everyone! This is the time to organize! Sign our petition to join our to join the movement and to sign up to get involved!
How can I get more information?
Statewide hotline: 833-503-0447, open 24/7. They will soon be able to 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 NYC, you can also 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.
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.