The entire text of the law can be read here: https://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2019/S8192B
BILL NUMBER: S8192b SPONSOR: HOYLMAN TITLE OF BILL: An act in relation to prohibiting the eviction of residential tenants who have suffered financial hardship during the COVID-19 covered period PURPOSE OF BILL: The purpose of the Tenant Safe Harbor Act is to help keep residential tenants in their homes following the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing only money judgments, and not evictions, for unpaid rent that comes due while restrictions are in place due to COVID-19 on businesses, public accommo- dations, and nonessential gatherings SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill defines the COVID-19 covered period. Section 2 of the bill: (1) prohibits courts from issuing a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession against a residential tenant or other lawful occupant that suffered financial hardship during the COVID-19 covered period for the nonpayment of rent that accrues or becomes due during the COVID-19 covered period, (2) allows tenants to raise finan- cial hardship as an affirmative defense and provides factors a court may examine in determining hardship, and (3) allows courts to award a judg- ment for the rent due and owing to a landlord in a summary proceeding under Article 7 of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law. Section 3 of the bill provides the effective date. JUSTIFICATION: : ON MARCH 7, 2020, GOVERNOR CUOMO ISSUED EXECUTIVE ORDER 202, DECLARING A STATEWIDE DISASTER EMERGENCY DUE TO THE IMPENDING THREAT OF THE COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC. AS COVID-19 HAS SPREAD THROUGHOUT NEW YORK, GOVERNOR CUOMO HAS ISSUED A SERIES OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO SUSPEND OR MODIFY EXISTING LAW:S AS NECESSARY TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF. THE VIRUS. EXECUTIVE ORDER 202.8, ISSUED ON MARCH 20, 2020, INCLUDED A DIRECTIVE THAT "THERE SHALL BE NO ENFORCEMENT OF EITHER AN EVICTION OF ANY TENANT RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL, OR A FORECLOSURE OF ANY RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL PROPER- TY FOR A PERIOD OF NINETY DAYS." THE SUBSEQUENT EXECUTIVE ORDER 202.28, ISSUED ON MAY 7, 2020, INCLUDED A DIRECTIVE THAT "THERE SHALL BE NO INITIATION OF A PROCEEDING OR ENFORCE- MENT OF EITHER AN EVICTION OF ANY RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL TENANT, FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT OR A FORECLOSURE OF ANY RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL MORTGAGE, 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 FOR A PERIOD OF SIXTY DAY BEGINNING ON JUNE 20, 2020." THE EVICTION MORATORIA PROVIDED IN EOS 202.8 AND 202.28 ARE IMPORTANT MEASURES TO HELP KEEP NEW YORKERS SECURE IN THEIR HOMES AND PLACES OF BUSINESS AT A TIME WHEN THE LEADING PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 URGES SOCIAL DISTANCING AND SELF-ISOLATION. AT THE SAME TIME, NEW YORK IS EXPERIENCING AN UNPRECEDENTED SPIKE IN UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS AS THE NY STATE ON PAUSE ORDER REQUIRES NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES TO TEMPORARILY SHUTTER, AND OTHER BUSINESSES HAVE HAD TO CLOSE PERMA- NENTLY, LAY OFF EMPLOYEES, OR DRAMATICALLY SCALE BACK AVAILABLE WORK HOURS DUE TO THE FISCAL IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 RESPONSE. WHILE EOS 202.8 AND 202.28 WILL KEEP NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FEELING THE FINANCIAL IMPACTS OF LOSING THEIR JOBS OR A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF THEIR INCOME FROM BEING EVICTED THROUGH AT LEAST JUNE, IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATEWIDE SUSPENSION OF RENT MANY TENANTS MAY FIND THEMSELVES FACING SEVERAL MONTHS' WORTH OF ACCRUED UNPAID RENT AT THE END OF THE EVICTION MORATORIA. SUCH A SCENARIO WOULD PUT TENANTS AT HIGH RISK OF BEING EVICTED, AT A TIME WHEN IT IS UNLIKELY THAT THE ECONOMY AND JOB MARKET WILL HAVE RECOVERED FROM THE IMPACT OF COVID-19. THIS LEGISLATION WOULD DISALLOW COURTS FROM ISSUING POSSESSORY JUDGMENTS OR WARRANTS OF EVICTION FOR UNPAID RENT THAT WAS DUE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE COVID-19 STATE DISASTER EMERGENCY THROUGH THE PERIOD THAT RESTRICTIONS ON BUSINESSES, PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS, AND NONESSENTIAL GATHERINGS ARE IN PLACE. LANDLORDS WOULD STILL BE ABLE TO OBTAIN MONEY JUDGMENTS FOR UNPAID RENT THAT ACCRUED DURING THAT TIME PERIOD, BUT TENANTS WOULD REMAIN STABLY LOCATED IN THE MEANTIME. PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None, new bill. FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None. EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.