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What Landlords May Do When A Tenant Fails To Pay Rent

On June 30, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, which creates new defenses that residential tenants may raise in court in summary nonpayment proceedings. While this new law does not affect a landlord’s ability to commence a nonpayment proceeding, it places significant restrictions on a landlord’s right to remove a non-paying tenant from possession. According to this new law, if a tenant can establish as a defense in a nonpayment proceeding that it has suffered a financial hardship during the period from March 7, 2020 until the governmental restrictions related to the COVID-19 are rescinded (the “Covered Period”), a landlord is only allowed to obtain a non-possessory money judgment for any unpaid rent that became due during that period.

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