NYS Legislative Special Session Monday (12/28/2020) to Extend & Expand State Eviction Moratoriums

Both houses of the Legislature will meet remotely on Monday to advance a bill extending and expanding state eviction moratoriums.  The legislature printed the bill late Christmas eve to ensure it was aged for passage if the Governor refused a memorandum of necessity. No other bills are on the formal agenda at this time. We have attached both Senate Majority Leader Stewart Cousins and Speaker Heastie’s press releases on the special legislative session tomorrow. The Assembly will gavel in at 1 PM.

The legislation, introduced on Thursday, would halt all evictions and foreclosures for 60 days. It would also allow tenants and mortgagers to submit financial hardship declarations that would halt those proceedings until May 1.

While the Assembly briefly met last week to take a vote on some technical changes relating to remote voting, this will mark the first substantive post-Election Day gathering of the Legislature in nine years.

There’s a hodgepodge of state and local moratoriums on the books, but tenant advocates have argued that they leave too much room to bring proceedings against individuals impacted by the pandemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday that he would soon renew a moratorium that he’s imposed via executive order, though he has not weighed in on the new legislation. Since the Legislature will be passing the measure so close to the end of the year, a provision of the state constitution gives him until the end of January, rather than the usual 10 days, to act on it.

Here is a list of provisions:

Eviction Protections

* Stays residential eviction proceedings for sixty days for implementation purposes;

* Allows residential tenants suffering a financial or health-related hardship to file a hardship declaration, under penalty of perjury, with their landlord or a court that will prevent the filing of any eviction or stay any eviction proceeding in progress at the time of filing until

May 1, 2021; and

* Allows landlords to evict objectionable tenants and tenants who do not submit a declaration of hardship.

Foreclosure Protections

* Stays residential foreclosure proceedings for sixty days for implementation purposes; and

* Allows mortgagors who own ten or fewer residential dwellings, including their primary residence, and are suffering a financial hardship to file a hardship declaration with their mortgage lender, other foreclosing party, or the court that will prevent the filing of a foreclosure action or stay any foreclosure action in progress at the time of filing until May 1, 2021.  Subpart B: Tax Lien Sale Protections

* This proposal prevents all local governments from engaging in any tax lien sale or tax foreclosure for the duration of the COVID emergency period, for any property owner who files a hardship declaration until May 1, 2021.

* The amounts due to the locality will still be due, and the owner will

have to pay those amounts to avoid a sale/foreclosure after the emergency period.

Prohibits Credit Discrimination and Negative Credit Reporting

* Prohibits lending institutions from discriminating in the determination of whether credit should be extended to any owner of residential real property (ten or fewer units) because the owner has been granted a stay of mortgage foreclosure proceedings, tax foreclosure proceedings or

tax lien sales, or the owner is currently in arrears and has filed a hardship declaration with the lender.

* Prohibits negative reporting to any credit reporting agency due to the fact that an owner of residential real property (ten or fewer units) has been granted a stay of mortgage foreclosure proceedings, tax foreclosure proceedings or tax lien sales, or that the owner is currently in arrears and has filed a hardship declaration with their lender.

Senior Citizens’ Homeowner Exemption (SCHE) and Disabled

Homeowner Exemption (DHE)

* Requires local governments to carry over SCHE and DHE exemptions from the 2020 assessment roll to the 2021 assessment roll at the same levels.

* Requires localities to provide renewal applications, via electronic or postal mail, for those individuals who may be eligible for a larger exemption in 2021.

* Allows localities to specify procedures wherein local assessors may require renewal applications from recipients they believe may no longer be eligible for the exemption in 2021.

* In no event may recipients be required to show up in person to file their renewal, if a renewal is required.