Evictions begin to trickle in

Proceedings are stayed until at least July 7, according to the state’s top administrative judge

1118 Grand Concourse in the Bronx (Google Maps, iStock)
1118 Grand Concourse in the Bronx (Google Maps, iStock)

New York City’s Housing Court opened last Monday, but evictions are proceeding at a trickle, for now.

Despite warnings from tenant advocates that as many as 50,000 eviction cases would be filed, the court’s limit on evictions has so far stopped that from happening. The court had received just seven new eviction filings as of Monday, according to a court spokesperson.

Confusion surrounds the feasibility of moving forward with cases.

Evictions still cannot be executed, but they can be filed by mail or electronically. These are the first new eviction cases filed since March 15, when the courts halted all evictions statewide. A May order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo allowed for some evictions to start last week, but that was hampered by further guidance from the court which said that eviction proceedings would be stayed at least until July 7.

Landlord attorneys have decried New York’s limits on evictions, saying tenants have essentially been given permission to skip rent. One New York City industry group said that a quarter of renters paid no rent at all last month.

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But tenant advocates have warned against a sharp increase in evictions, and predicted as many as 50,000 in New York alone.

While a wave of new evictions has not yet occurred in the New York City housing court, a rise in evictions has begun in other parts of the country, especially those without rent regulation, as state and local policies blocking evictions expire. In Texas, more than 2,000 eviction hearings are scheduled in the coming weeks, with landlords seeking $4.2 million in unpaid rent, according to an analysis of Texas court records by KHOU 11 Investigates. In Tennessee, the eviction moratorium was lifted two weeks ago to allow 9,000 eviction cases to proceed, the Commercial Appeal reported.

Credit-rating agency Kroll Bond Rating Agency said that it expects a “significant surge in evictions” in New York, Florida, Texas and California as eviction moratoriums are scheduled to end in the next two months.

“Without additional unemployment extensions or other government intervention, a wave of renter displacement could result,” the report said.

A group of Westchester landlords filed a federal lawsuit alleging the eviction moratorium violated their constitutional rights, but it was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon.