COVID-19 – Impact on Housing in New York State

The law has been changed substantially to help tenants in New York State during the COVID-19 crisis. The type of protection depends on the circumstances of each case. This is an overview of the main protections for tenants.


Federal 120-Day Freeze on Eviction Filings

Under the CARES Act, you may not be evicted until at least July 27, 2020 if you live in public housing, federally subsidized housing, or federally-assisted supportive housing. You may not be evicted until at least July 27, 2020 if you have a Section 8 voucher. This may cover other types of housing also; please consult an attorney if you have questions.


If you receive a Section 8 voucher, or if you live in public housing, federally-subsidized housing, or federally-assisted supportive housing, among other housing, your landlord may not file court papers for non-payment of rent until after the 120 days expires on July 27, 2020.


A landlord can still serve rent demands and late notices at any time during this time. If you are representing yourself, and you live in one of the types of housing listed above, you should not receive a court date for non-payment of rent until August 6, 2020 at the earliest. If you live in one of these types of housing and are representing yourself, you should tell the judge that you live in this kind of housing.


A landlord can bring a non-payment case regardless of whether you have a lease or not.

Month-To-Month Tenants

Month-to-month tenants are tenants who either do not have a current written lease or their written lease renews on a month to month basis. In New York State, a landlord does not need a reason to evict or not renew a month-to-month tenant (so long as their reason is not discriminatory), but the landlord does need to give the proper notice to the tenant.  The amount of notice you should get depends on how long you have lived in your home:

  • You must get 30 days’ notice if you have lived in your home for up to one year.
  • You must get 60 days’ notice if you have lived in your home for between one and two years.
  • You must get 90 days’ notice if you have lived in your home more than two years.


In N.Y., courts have interpreted the 30-day notice to mean one month’s worth of notice. For example: You have lived in your home for less than one year.  You receive a notice from your landlord that tells you she no longer wishes to rent to you. You receive this notice on July 28, 2020.  The notice gives you until August 31, 2020 to vacate your home regardless of whether it states a different date. After August 31, the landlord is still required to start a court proceeding to remove the tenant. You do not have to leave until a judge issues a warrant of eviction.

Expiration or Non-Renewal of Lease

If a tenant has a lease and your landlord chooses not to renew that lease, the landlord must give the same amount of notice as a month-to-month tenant as listed above. The landlord may give the notice prior to the expiration of the lease or may give notice after the lease has expired. In either case, the landlord must give the required notice before bringing an eviction proceeding in court.


Under the new federal law, if you live in public housing, Section 8 vouchers, federally-subsidized housing, and federally-assisted supportive housing your landlord cannot serve you with a termination notice or notice of non-renewal until after July 27, 2020 and you cannot be evicted before September 2020.

State Eviction Moratorium Until June 18, 2020

As of March 23, 2020, there is a 90-day moratorium (freeze) on all evictions until June 18, 2020. The moratorium includes all eviction enforcements and any previously scheduled eviction court dates. If you had a court date that was previously scheduled, the court will notify you of your new court date. (You may get more than one notice from the court.)


If you went to court before March 15, 2020 and the judge issued a Warrant of Eviction, then the sheriff may not enforce it.  This is true even if the sheriff has already served it.  It is still unclear if Warrants that were already served will need to be re-served.

State Eviction Moratorium Until August 20, 2020

As of May 7, 2020, there is a limited moratorium (freeze) on certain types of evictions for specific tenants from June 20, 2020 through August 20, 2020. This moratorium only applies to non-payment proceedings, which is an eviction brought by a landlord who claims they are owed rent. There cannot be any new non-payment proceedings filed nor any enforcement of a Warrant of Eviction issued in a non-payment proceeding. However, for a tenant to qualify for this protection, they must be eligible for unemployment insurance, state or federal benefits, or are otherwise facing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


At this time, there are still a lot of questions about how the second moratorium will be interpreted by the courts. Whether or not it applies to a tenant will depend on the specific facts of that case.