In an effort to help residents struggling to pay their rent or mortgages as a result of actions taken to combat the novel coronavirus, housing courts across New York are closed, halting all evictions and pending lawsuits.
The unprecedented move by the state came in response to a grassroots, statewide tenants’ movement that developed clear demands in light of the evolving public health crisis, said a statement by various housing advocates.
“It’s a relief to families knowing they don’t have to worry about both eviction and COVID-19,” said Randy Dillard, tenant leader with Community Action for Safe Apartments.
The action was taken after a statewide coalition of housing advocacy groups and tenant associations worked together to push a joint city and state strategy calling on both NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to enact an immediate eviction moratorium and closure of the courts.
The action, announced by Chief Administrative Lawrence Marks in a memo, halts all eviction proceedings and pending orders statewide until further notice as health officials work to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The suspension applies to both residential and commercial evictions.
Certain court functions related to housing, such as code violations, repair orders, and landlord lockouts, will continue to be heard.
“Issuing a moratorium on evictions was absolutely the right thing to do, said Marika Dias, director of the Tenants Rights Coalition at Legal Services NYC, “During the current public health crisis it is imperative that New York families are not facing the additional threat of eviction and homelessness.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.