Governor Cuomo may have suspended evictions in New York, but that doesn't mean everyone can breathe a sigh of relief for now. While he originally declared a moratorium on evictions for 90 days in March—and then extended that until August 20—the NYC Housing Court recently started operating again. That means it's now working on eviction cases that were filed before the pandemic began. If you're renting in New York, here's what you should know about the NYC Housing Court's most recent actions.
Virtual Conferences for Eviction Cases
Just days ago, the NYC Housing Court announced that it's up and running again—but of course, there are some changes in how it's operating. For instance, all conferences are virtual for now, as courthouses likely won't be able to be open to the public for a while. In fact, while some upstate courthouses are starting to open already, attorneys in the Brooklyn Housing Court have said they don't believe they'll reopen this year at all, as social distancing would be too difficult.
Granted, the NYC Housing Court technically never closed, as it has been open for virtual conferences during the pandemic. But until April, it only dealt with essential and emergency cases, like repairs that needed to be done immediately. Last month, the court did start handling non-essential cases again, such as cases that had started before the pandemic halted most operations around the city.
And now the court is specifically working on finishing the eviction cases that were filed before the pandemic. Of course, the eviction moratorium during the pandemic still stands, so anyone who wasn't in danger of being evicted before March shouldn't have to worry about losing their home until August 20 at the earliest.
Hundreds of Cases Await Their Virtual Meetings
Another detail to know is that the judges at the NYC Housing Court are doing their best to help tenants and landlords come to an agreement without jury trials so they don't have to add another file to their growing caseloads. After all, once the eviction moratorium ends in August, judges expect to see a lot more cases to handle.
Not surprisingly, this court is among the busiest in the nation, with almost 240,000 filings every year. So the more cases the judges can complete virtually for now, the better. Otherwise, the court runs the risk of becoming overrun with cases by the end of the year. Just this week, the court has had hundreds of local residents schedule virtual settlement conferences to help them work out evictions and other landlord/tenant issues.
If you're renting a home in New York City and are worried about eviction or other issues involving your landlord, it's important to get legal help. Even though you can't physically go to a courthouse to work out your legal problems, you may be able to schedule a virtual conference that can help put your mind at ease. But before you do this, it's critical that you have an experienced New York City real estate attorney ready to represent you. Contact one today to learn about your rights as a renter in NYC.