August 13, 2020

New York Chief Administrative Judge Hon. Lawrence K. Marks issued a memorandum on August 12 that revised the procedures for addressing both residential and commercial evictions.

Landlords and tenants have been in limbo wondering when eviction proceedings would be allowed to proceed, potentially shuttering businesses and putting families out on the street in the midst of COVID-19. Judge Marks’ memorandum updates the rules with the following points:

  • Both residential and commercial eviction proceedings filed on or after March 17, 2020 will continue to be suspended
  • Both residential and commercial eviction proceedings filed before March 17, 2020 may proceed
  • Residential cases filed before March 17, 2020 – including cases where a warrant of eviction has been issued but not executed – must be conferenced before a judge before any further action is taken
  • Commercial evictions may proceed without a conference
  • What does this all mean for New Yorkers?

In the short-term, it offers some relief for renters who have faced evictions that were commenced on or after March 17. But, as is often the case, there are some caveats and specific nuances that must be considered when examining these updates. Specifically, landlords need to be mindful of following all procedures to be in compliance and not risk an adverse ruling in their case.

That includes item No. 5 in Judge Marks’ memorandum:

Commencement papers in commercial and residential eviction proceedings must continue to include the form notice indicating that respondent/tenants may be eligible for an extension of time to respond to the complaint.

Failure to include this notice with any eviction papers will jeopardize the landlord’s ability to move forward in a timely manner with the eviction.

Another important update pertains to eviction proceedings commenced prior to March 17, 2020. Though the revised procedures allow those cases to move forward, they state that “No outstanding or new residential warrants of eviction may be executed prior to October 1, 2020.” 

This means that no matter what your circumstances, no residents of New York can legally be evicted from their home prior to October 1, 2020, at the earliest.

It is important to remember that this is a fluid legal discussion and we are facing unique challenges that we have never seen before. There will likely be more updates and revisions to the procedures. Both landlords and tenants who have questions or concerns should contact an attorney to make sure your rights are protected and that you fully understand your responsibilities under these revised procedures.  

John K. Rottaris is an experienced litigation attorney who focuses his practice in the areas of commercial and business litigation, creditors’ rights, commercial collections, landlord-tenant law, bankruptcy law and tax certiorari. He can be reached at Gross Shuman P.C. by calling 716-854-4300 ext. 206 or