The Daily Dirt: State extends eviction ban

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

If there’s been one constant during the pandemic, it is that the state’s eviction rules are confusing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo just extended the state’s halt on most evictions. But it is unclear how the courts — which have a track record of contradicting the governor on this — will interpret his latest executive order, Georgia Kromrei reports.

Late Wednesday Cuomo signed an order that extends the moratorium on most evictions until Sept. 4. Housing Court representatives said additional guidance would be issued Thursday afternoon, but as of press time (newsletter time?), that hasn’t happened.

The governor’s office also punted the question to the courts.

“The order signed last night continued provisions giving the courts and litigants the leeway to suspend deadlines related to civil litigation,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “How and if they use this authority when it comes to eviction proceedings is up to them.”

Housing courts have held some eviction proceedings virtually since May, and in-person proceedings were permitted to resume in Brooklyn at the end of last month.

Earlier this week, legal services providers noted that 14,000 pre-pandemic eviction warrants could move forward if the governor didn’t extend the state’s moratorium. The governor signed legislation in June that expanded eviction protections to those who can prove financial distress as a result of Covid-19 — which wouldn’t apply to those pre-pandemic warrants.

Brooklyn and the suburbs saw spikes in activity last month. Manhattan? Not so much.

We’ve heard a lot about people leaving Manhattan for areas with more space and fewer people. It’ll be a while before we get a full sense of whether such migrations are permanent or significant, but we do know that Brooklyn, Long Island, Westchester and Connecticut saw spikes in interest last month.

In Brooklyn, contracts for condo units priced at less than $500,000 doubled in July from the previous year, according to Douglas Elliman’s latest market report. The number of higher-end deals ($1 million or more) in the Hamptons jumped 185 percent compared to last year, from 39 to 98, Sylvia Varnham O’Regan reports.

Meanwhile, Manhattan saw no condo deals signed above the $4 million threshold. Contracts for co-ops priced between $4 million and $5 million dropped 94 percent year-over-year. Collectively, condo and co-op contracts decreased by 56 percent compared to the same time last year.

“Manhattan seems to be its own separate entity,” said Miller Samuel’s Jonathan Miller, who authored the report. “And I think that had a lot to do with the exodus back in March and April when about 40 percent of the residents of Manhattan moved out — and they haven’t come back yet.”

What we’re thinking about: Will the state’s highest court take up the challenge to Inwood’s rezoning? Should it? Send a note to

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Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Thursday was for a condo unit at 25 Central Park West on the Upper West Side at $3.5 million.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for a bank building at 28 East 170th Street in Concourse at $4.7 million.


The largest new building filing of the day was for a 9,669-square-foot place of worship at 1511 Saint Peters Avenue in Westchester Square. Mohammad Ali of Baitul Maamur Jame Masjid filed the permit application.


The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a condo at 30 West 63rd Street on the Upper West Side at $8.5 million. Douglas Elliman has the listing.
Research by Orion Jones

A thing we’ve learned…

TMZ, the celebrity news tabloid, stands for “Thirty Mile Zone,” which refers to the 30-mile radius around Hollywood where major television networks and studios have established headquarters. Clever! Thank you to Kevin Sun for enlightening us all.

Elsewhere in New York

— New York Attorney General Letitia James wants to take down the National Rifle Association. In a lawsuit filed Thursday, she accused the politically powerful organization of corruption, mismanagement and diverting millions of dollars “for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty,” according to NBC News. The NRA has already countersued.

— In a shot at the governor, Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated that he supports taxing wealthy New Yorkers, Politico New York reports. Cuomo has said he doesn’t support raising taxes for the ultra-wealthy because it will drive them out of New York. “I was troubled to hear this concept that because wealthy people have a set of concerns about the city that we should accommodate them, that we should build our policies and approaches around them. That’s not how it works around here anymore,” de Blasio said.

— The mayor’s plan to convert some stretches of city streets into busways has stalled, the New York Post reports. De Blasio announced in June that the first of the thoroughfares, Main Street in Queens, would be transformed by the end of that month. But the administration says pushback from community business owners has prevented the project from getting off the ground.