Landlords looking to boot non-paying commercial tenants will have to wait until the new year.
New York’s moratorium on commercial evictions and foreclosures due to non-payment of rent will be in place through Jan. 1, 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in a press conference Tuesday.
The governor can only extend the ban for 30-day periods — meaning the latest order will need to be renewed again on Nov. 19. A spokesperson for the governor’s office said the ban would remain in place.
Cuomo said the commercial eviction and foreclosure moratorium would align with the rules governing residential evictions, although the legislation limiting some residential evictions is not a blanket moratorium — it allows tenants to raise a defense in non-payment cases, and allows landlords to seek a money judgments instead of eviction if the tenant is eligible. As of last week in Rochester, 27 eviction warrants had moved forward, while in Yonkers, 100 to 200 eviction cases are being tried each week, Law360 reported.
Like the rules governing residential evictions, the most recent iteration of the commercial eviction ban has some caveats. Commercial evictions initiated before March 17 have been able to proceed as of Sept. 4.
State legislators have also sought to address the concerns of mortgagors and business owners who are unable to make payments, although lawmakers in New York have taken a back seat to Cuomo in the day-to-day response to the pandemic.
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte introduced legislation to offer one year of mortgage forbearance to small property owners — those with no more than four units — and small businesses. The bill, however, has faced steep opposition from the Department of Financial Services, according to Bichotte.
“Department of Financial Services hates the bill and they’ve been trying to stop it,” Bichotte said. The assemblymember added that DFS is concerned about the impact on smaller state-chartered financial institutions, which would lose out on mortgage payments. Since being introduced at the end of May, the bill has not gotten any closer to passage.