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Supreme Court Partially Invalidates New York Eviction Ban

Credit: Unsplash

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses, several US states have implemented a ban on evictions to support tenants during this challenging time. While the intent is to provide tenants with breathing room to stabilize their financial situation without the fear of losing their homes, landlords have faced difficulties in maintaining their properties without rental income.

In New York, a group of landlords has raised concerns about the state’s eviction ban, prompting them to challenge it in the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the landlords, partially striking down a key aspect of the moratorium. One contentious issue was the provision that allowed tenants to self-certify their pandemic-related financial hardships without substantial evidence, leading to some tenants exploiting this loophole to avoid paying rent.

Olga Someras, general counsel at the Rent Stabilization Association of New York City, highlighted the misuse of this provision by stating, “All you had to do was check a box; in theory, it applied to millionaires. There were stories where tenants were using the law meant to protect vulnerable New Yorkers as a sword rather than a shield to take advantage of landlords.”

While this ruling provides some relief to landlords, it also raises concerns for tenants truly facing financial hardships. Rebecca Garrard, legislative director at Citizen Action of New York, warned, “Given the abrupt nature of this decision, we may witness a surge in eviction cases unlike anything we’ve seen before.”

Garrard noted that despite the moratorium initially being scheduled to last until the end of August, tenants who have received eviction notices in the last 30 days could now face immediate eviction.

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