CONTINUING TEMPORARY SUSPENSION AND MODIFICATION OF LAWS RELATING TO THE DISASTER EMERGENCY
On August 5, 2020, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the “New Order,” also known as Executive Order 202.55. The New Order provides additional relief to renters economically impacted by COVID-19 and provides a 30-day extension for protections previously granted by Executive Order 202.8, as extended by Executive Order 202.28 and Executive Order 202.48.
In addition to Cuomo's executive order, effective August 13, 2020, the New York Unified Court System will follow the eviction procedures laid out by AO/160/20. These procedures amend temporary protocol for eviction proceedings, including the continued suspension of CPLR deadlines.
Additional relief to renters impacted by COVID-19 and extended time period for protections to renters & property owners
The “Prior Orders” (202.8, 202.28, 202.48) consist of two main parts (i) a moratorium on evictions of commercial tenants through August 5, 2020, and residential tenants through July 5, 2020, and (ii) a moratorium on eviction and foreclosure of any residential or commercial tenant or owner through August 20, 2020, if the basis of the eviction is facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 202.55 extends the Prior Orders for an additional 30 days, dating to September 5, 2020, continuing the moratoria on commercial and residential evictions and foreclosures until such date.
In regard to the procedure for these evictions, AO/160/20 addresses the procedure for both residential and commercial proceedings.
For commercial proceedings, a stay of commencement and enforcement of commercial eviction matters against certain tenants, initiated by Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 202.28, remains in effect through August 19, 2020. Commercial eviction matters may otherwise proceed in the normal course.
For residentialproceedings, prior to any further proceedings in any residential eviction matter commenced prior to March 17, the court must hold a status or settlement conference to address a range of subjects related to the case and COVID-19 concerns, including the availability of relief under the New York Tenant Safe Harbor Act and other state or federal edicts. Additionally, no residential eviction may take place prior to October 1, 2020 or – in the event of a future state or federal moratorium on evictions – such later date or dates set forth in law.
Deadlines in CPLR are still suspended including deadline to answer, respond to motions, and to enter judgments
According to AO/160/20, eviction matters commenced prior to March 17, 2020 may be resumed, with certain important caveats, including that further proceedings in particular matters – both commercial and residential – may continue to be governed by the suspension of “any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as described by set forth in Executive Orders 202.8, 202.14, 202.28, 202.38, 202.48, 202.55.” This essentially means that even if a residential or commercial tenant is served with an eviction petition, they do not have to answer the petition until on or after September 6, 2020.
Further, in regard to procedural guidelines laid out in AO/160/20, filing and service of documents in evictions will continue to be governed by AO/121/20. This means that initiating documents by represented petitioners may only be filed through NYSCEF or mail at this time.
Importantly, the order adds that commencement papers in commercial and residential eviction proceeds must continue to include the form notice indicating that respondent-tenants may be eligible for an extension of time to respond to the complaint.