On September 29, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.626, titled Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency. The new executive order does not extend any moratoriums. The new executive order instead extends the Tenant Safe Harbor and Protection Act through January 1, 2021.
The Tenant Safe Harbor Act specifically barred a landlord from the entry of a judgment of possession where a tenant proves that the tenant suffered financial hardship for the COVID-19 covered period. The Tenant Safe Harbor Act created an affirmative defense specifically to address financial hardship brought on by Covid-19. The Act required the court to look at a series of factors before making that determination of whether a financial hardship occurred. As originally drafted, the Act only extended the period of financial hardship to cover the period ending at the start of “Phase Four” in New York. However, the new Executive Order extends that period through 2020. The amounts that are covered by the Tenant Safe Harbor Act are shrill subject to the entry of a money judgment.
The Executive Order may face challenges in terms of the Governor’s authority under the Executive Law since the period was extended more than thirty days but at this time parties should assume that the Tenant Safe Harbor Act covered period has been extended through January 1, 2021.
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