Pursuant to authority granted by the Trump administration, the CDC will publish an Order on September 4, 2020 which extends the moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment of rent through December 31, 2020, covering additional residential renters which were not previously covered under the CARES Act.

It is the belief of this firm that several provisions of the Order may be subject to legal challenges, as this extends protections beyond those afforded tenants in federally subsidized housing and may be an unlawful interference with private property and contract rights.  Further analysis will be required, especially in light of the implementation on the State and City levels.

Under the Order, a landlord/owner of residential property shall not be permitted to evict covered renters who declare, under the penalty of perjury that:

  1. the individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  2. the individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 the IRS, or (iii) received a stimulus check pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  3. the individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  4. the individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
  5. eviction would likely render the individual homeless – or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting – because the individual has no other available housing options.

While there is an affirmative requirement on tenants to provide this sworn declaration to the landlord, we anticipate that there may be further obligations imposed on landlords by State or City orders, as the Order permits for stronger and more restrictive local and state regulations than those contained in the Order.  The Order does not alleviate the obligation on tenants to pay rent and landlords may continue to charge rent and, where applicable, other fees and interest; the Order merely further delays the legal remedy for landlords in recovering rent arrears.

Further, a person found violating the Order is subject to criminal penalties as follows:

  1. a fine of no more than $100,000 if the violation does not result in a death or one year in jail, or both; or
  2. a fine of no more than $250,000 if the violation results in a death or one year in jail, or both.

Organizations found violating the Order are subject to criminal penalties as follows:

  1. a fine of no more than $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a death; or
  2. a fine of no more than $500,000 per event if the violation does result in a death.

The impact of this Order on the current state of the Courts in New York, and specifically in New York City, depends on the issuance of further Administrative Orders (“AO”) and Directives and Procedures (“DRP”).  As soon as the AO and DRP are issued, we will provide detailed information to you regarding same.

The Order does not affect a landlord’s rights to proceed on cases which arise out of the failure of a tenant to comply with any other obligation under the lease or the law but abrogates any rights of a landlord to proceed on an eviction for non-payment of rent.

As always, Daniels Norelli Cecere & Tavel, P.C. is here to review any legal claims you may have against a tenant in order to determine what other rights you may be able to enforce under the terms of your lease or the law.  Please contact us at any time to discuss the particulars of any given case you may wish to commence.

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