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New Rules for Landlords & Tenants Effective June 2019 Part II

Posted by Arnold A. Arpino | Dec 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

On June 14, 2019, in response to a housing shortage that has spanned more than fifty years, New York passed the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA). HSTPA will bring about broad and sweeping changes to the laws governing many forms of housing across New York.

This is Part 2 of a three part series of posts discussing the sweeping reforms. Part 1 focused on the new changes to the Real Property Law. This post will discuss the changes to the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL). Next month we will discuss the changes to the General Obligations Law.

UNDER THE OLD LAW

  • Nonpayment Proceedings (RPAPL 711[2]; 732[1]; 732[3]): Landlord had to make demand to pay rent 3 days before starting nonpayment proceeding. Oral demands were permitted, but if written, demand must have been served. Tenants had 5 days to answer.
  • Right to Pay Prior to Hearing: Law not codified.
  • Definition of "Rent": A residential lease could include provisions for "added" or "additional" rents such as late and legal fees. Landlords could seek such rent in a nonpayment or holdover proceeding. 
  • Timing of Holdover Proceedings RPAPL 733(1), 743: Service of a holdover petition must have been made at least 5 and not more than 12 days before the first court appearance. If petition was served at least 8 days before initial return date, tenant had 3 days to answer.
  • The Warrant of Eviction and Marshal's or Sheriff's Notice RPAPL 749(1), (2): Upon issuance of a final judgment of possession, court would issue warrant of eviction, but court did not specify timing of execution of the warrant. Sheriff or Marshal had to give 72 hours' notice before eviction. Issuance of warrant canceled the lease and annulled the landlord tenant relationship, depriving the court of the power to vacate warrant for good cause.
  • Unlawful Evictions: Were illegal, except by court proceeding, to evict residential occupant who had occupied space for at least 30 days or entered into a lease.

UNDER THE NEW 2019 LAW 

  • Nonpayment Proceedings:
  1. Oral demands are prohibited;
  2. 14-day written rent demand required and it must be served under RPAPL 735.
  3. Landlords may not seek arrears from a surviving spouse, surviving issue, or distributee
  4. Landlord's remedy is solely against estate of decedent and only possessory (not money) judgments may be obtained against an estate. 
  5. Tenants have 10 days to answer or will be in default in a nonpayment proceeding.
  6. Court has discretion to grant up to 5-day stay of the issuance of a warrant post-trial, subject to a discretionary stay of up to 1 year under RPAPL 753.
  7. Expands the rights of occupants who might be in possession after tenant's death
  8. Warrant of eviction against the estate of decedent due to nonpayment of rent will not permit landlord to evict occupant in possession. In such a case, the landlord must commence a separate holdover proceeding to evict occupant who remains in possession.
  • Right to Pay Prior to Hearing: 
  1. If full amount of rent is paid before hearing on the petition, landlord must accept the payment, and the proceeding must be dismissed.
  2. Applies to residential and it probably applies to commercial tenancies as well.
  • Definition of "Rent": 
  1. Residential rent defined narrowly to include only amount charge in consideration for the use and occupation of the space.
  2. No fees, charges, or penalties other than rent may be sought in a summary proceeding
  3. Does not apply to commercial proceedings.
  • Timing of Holdover Proceedings RPAPL 733(1), 743: 
  1. Service of holdover petition must be made at least 10 and not more than 17 days before the first court appearance.
  2. Tenant must answer the petition orally or in writing at the first court appearance.
  3. RPAPL 743 is amended to eliminate the requirement that an answer be made at least 3 days before the petition is to be heard.
  4. Applies to residential and commercial proceedings.
  • The Warrant of Eviction and Marshal's or Sheriff's Notice RPAPL 749(1), (2): 
  1. Warrant of eviction must state the earliest date the eviction can occur;
  2. Marshal or Sheriff must give at least 14 days' notice prior to eviction. 
  3. Warrant may only be executed on a business day from Monday through Friday.
  4. Issuance of Warrant no longer cancels landlord-tenant relationship.
  5. If tenant pays all rent due any time before warrant is expected, warrant in nonpayment case is vacated unless landlord can establish rent was withheld in bad faith.
  6. Court may, for good cause, stay or vacate a warrant.
  7. Applies to commercial and residential proceedings.
  • Unlawful Evictions:
  1. Unlawful evictions are now punishable as a Class A misdemeanor carrying civil penalties ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per violation;
  2. Unlawful eviction definition expanded to: (i) using or threatening force; (ii) interfering or intending to interfere with ability to use dwelling; (iii) engaging or threatening to engage in any conduct that prevents or is intended to prevent the occupant from lawful occupancy or to induce lawful occupant's vacatur.
  3. Owner required to restore person unlawfully removed.
  4. Applies statewide (under old law, this was already an unclassified misdemeanor in NYC).

About the Author

Arnold A. Arpino

Arnold practices Creditor's Rights & Collections, Health Law, Real Estate, & Estate Planning.

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Arnold A. Arpino & Associates, P.C., is a full service law firm that represents individuals and businesses in a variety of different practice areas. Our firm regularly appears in the Courts throughout Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley.

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