Hopes have been dashed for landlords and lawyers who sought to advance pending eviction cases.
In a letter reviewed by The Real Deal, New York City Housing Court Supervising Judge Jean Schneider on Tuesday ended the ambiguity about whether eviction cases interrupted by the pandemic could resume: They cannot.
“The court system’s administrative orders and the governor’s emergency orders continue to stay all eviction proceedings and bar all evictions statewide,” her letter read. “Within this major limitation, we are looking for ways to move cases along where we can.”
The New York court system resumed non-essential work virtually last week, conducting cases via videoconference.
After Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s announced New York’s “transformation to a virtual court system,” Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks laid out the guidelines for implementation in a memo late last week. Pending cases can proceed exclusively via Skype for Business, according to the memo, “where appropriate.”
The instructions prompted some real estate attorneys to wonder if pending eviction cases would be deemed appropriate. Some suggested that it would help some tenants by making them eligible for emergency funding from the city’s “one-shot” program, although lawyers for tenants were dubious that their clients would benefit from a resumption.
Eviction cases have been stalled since March 15, when New York state halted evictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic and to demands from tenant groups and their advocates. Several progressive politicians proposed a six-month extension of the moratorium on evictions. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for an additional two months to be added to the moratorium, which currently lapses in June, despite having little say in the matter.
A former supervising attorney at Legal Aid, Schneider was named to her housing court post in 2009.