Cuomo re-ups commercial eviction ban

Executive order made no mention of residential evictions

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty; iStock)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty; iStock)

Landlords hoping to rid themselves of non-paying commercial tenants will have to wait a little longer.

In an executive order issued Dec. 11, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended New York’s ban on commercial evictions and foreclosures through Jan. 31, 2021. The ban was set to expire at the end of this year. Cuomo has repeatedly extended the ban, but cannot do so for more than a month at a time.

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There are still some avenues for landlords stuck with non-paying tenants to seek recourse. As was the case with the previous bans, the restrictions apply only to foreclosures and evictions due to non-payment. Commercial evictions initiated before March 17 have been able to proceed since Sept. 4.

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The governor’s order made no mention of residential evictions, which are subject to limits through the end of the year. Currently, the Tenant Safe Harbor Act allows landlords to seek money judgments from residential tenants rather than an eviction, as long as the tenant can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

The TSHA does not prevent the filing of residential evictions, however. Between June and November 2020, there have been 28,490 eviction filings in New York City — a little less than half the usual amount of eviction filings. Only a handful of evictions have been executed in New York City, although evictions are ramping up elsewhere in the state.

Although the legislature has largely taken a subordinate role to Cuomo during the state’s response to the pandemic, Democratc lawmakers have signaled that could change.

According to political sources, the state Senate intends to take action before the end of the year to extend limits on residential evictions. In order for the state legislature to do so before Christmas, a bill would need to be crafted and printed by the end of this week.