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Supreme Court Partially Strikes New York Eviction Ban

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As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting numerous business’ ability to conduct themselves, multiple US states have had a moratorium against evictions in place for several months now. While the moratorium is intended to give tenants time to find new sources of income without worrying about losing their homes, it has also placed an enormous strain on landlords who, without rent payments, have had difficulty maintaining their properties.

Over in New York, a coalition of landlords are officially out of patience, which is why they brought up a challenge against New York’s moratorium to the United States Supreme Court. This case has concluded in the landlords’ favor, at least partially. While the moratorium remains in place, a major part of it has been struck down. Part of New York’s moratorium stipulates that can self-attest that they’ve suffered some manner of financial loss directly caused by the pandemic, rather than providing tangible evidence. Landlords have alleged that some tenants are using this as an excuse not to pay their rents, even when they’re capable of doing so.

“All you had to do was check a box; in theory, it applied to millionaires,” said Olga Someras, general counsel at the Rent Stabilization Association of New York City. “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 is technically good news for struggling landlords, the burden could now land on the tenants who are actually experiencing difficulties. “Given the sudden notice of this decision, we could see eviction numbers like we’ve never seen before,” said Rebecca Garrard, legislative director at Citizen Action of New York.

The moratorium was supposed to be in effect until at least the end of August, Garrard said, but “If you’ve had a notice of eviction served within the last 30 days, you could be evicted today.”

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