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Evictions During Covid


     On August 12, 2020, the Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks issued a memorandum (LINK), which revises procedures for addressing residential and commercial eviction proceedings.

     As of August 13, 2020, both residential and commercial eviction matters, which were filed prior to March 17, 2020 may proceed, albeit with certain caveats. However, these eviction proceedings continue to be governed by the Governor’s suspension of certain statutes of limitations, which are set forth in Executive Orders 202.8, 202.14, 202.28, 202.38, 202.48 and 202.55. In sharp contrast, eviction matters filed on or after March 17, 2020, whether residential or commercial, nonpayment or holdover continue to be suspended.

     For residential eviction matters filed prior to March 17, 2020, the court must hold a status or settlement conference before any further action is taken in order address a range of subjects related to the case and Covid-19 concerns. This conference is mandatory even for residential eviction matters in which judgments and warrants of eviction have been issued and delivered to enforcement agents, but not yet executed. Only after holding such a conference may the court then take any further steps it deems appropriate or allow the matter to proceed in its normal due course. However, no outstanding or new residential warrants of eviction may be executed prior to October 1, 2020; or in the event of a future state or federal moratorium on evictions, such later date set forth in law.

     As for commercial eviction matters filed prior to March 17, 2020, a stay of commencement and enforcement against certain tenant – those tenants facing financial hardship due to the pandemic – remains in effect through August 19, 2020. Other than this one caveat, commercial eviction matters filed prior to March 17, 2020 may proceed normally. In particular, there is no requirement that a conference be held.

     Judge Marks also noted that eviction proceedings should be conducted remotely whenever the court deems it appropriate for the health and convenience of the participants. Moreover, commencement papers in both residential and commercial eviction proceedings must continue to include the form notice indicating that the tenants may be eligible for an extension of time to respond to the complaint.

     It is clear that the eviction guidelines are constantly evolving as the pandemic progresses. As such, whether you are a landlord or tenant, it is vital that you are prepared to proceed at a moment’s notice. We at the Litt Law Group have a team of landlord/tenant attorneys ready to assist you in navigating these changing times. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consult.