Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding and Mazzotti.
Interviewer: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo signed sweeping legislation expanding tenants’ rights in New York. The new law was applauded by many residents, but property owners argued that the change left them overly restricted in how they manage their properties and felt it was bad for business. Fast forward to March of this year, when most of the state shut down and a moratorium on eviction proceedings was put in place, landlords are now voicing concerns over their inability to remove problem tenants or properly care for their properties.
Here to help this issue is Managing Partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, we’ll jump right into it. Can you tell us just a little bit about the change in the landlord-tenant law that occurred prior to the pandemic?
Paul: So prior to the Tenant Protection Act, and really what that did is kinda level the playing field. We had a situation where security deposit is limited to one month. That’s reasonable. Also, if at the end of your lease, you had just 14 days as the landlord to get that money either back to the tenant or tell him why you’re not gonna pay him back the damage they may have caused before was a reasonable test, which left many people months and months out.
So that came about, there was a little bit of criticism, but ultimately it was kinda held as leveling the playing field.
Interviewer: When COVID-19 hit New York State, the governor paused evictions as many people were out of work, can you tell us about that?
Paul: Well, pure moratorium, there were no more evictions. So from March, you could not remove a tenant for any reason, and that has been extended right through October 1st of this year.
Interviewer: So when the moratorium is lifted, will tenants still be liable for unpaid or past due rent, and what happens if they can’t pay?
Paul: The short answer is yes, they’ll liable, but there’s talk of having some kind of a forgiveness statute that might come about, it hasn’t yet.
Interviewer: So we’ve heard several stories of landlords with unruly tenants who may or may not also be late on their rent, but these landlords are now unable to evict these people. Is there any kind of recourse for our viewers who may also be landlords?
Paul: The only thing they can really do, if it rises to the level of criminality or violates the quiet enjoyment of the other people in the building, you need to call the police and have the police talk to them. But in terms of evicting them, there’s no evictions in New York State, maybe October 1st.
Interviewer: All right. Paul, thanks so much for your time.
Paul: You’re welcome.
Interviewer: Obviously, still some developments that we look forward to. And for more information on your rights, be sure to visit our website, cbs6albany.com. Check out the many topics our legal experts break down for you.