Residential landlords may face a new eviction moratorium

Residential landlords may face a new eviction moratorium

March 14, 2023

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York implemented the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, more commonly referred to as the eviction moratorium. The Act was implemented to ensure that renters who lost their job or became too sick to work as a result of COVID-19, did not lose their housing. Opponents of the Act argued that it left landlords on the hook for taxes and maintenance on properties that were now collecting little or no rent. The Act was extended multiple times before it was allowed to expire in January 2022. A new bill proposed in the New York State Legislature aims to reintroduce a different kind of eviction moratorium.

Senate Bill S1403, known as “The Winter Moratorium on Evictions Act of 2023,” bans the execution of eviction proceedings during a more than five month period. The bill reads, in part:

the earliest date that the court can execute a warrant directed to the sheriff of the county or to any constable or marshal of the city or any town in the county, will fall between April sixteenth and October thirty first of any given calendar year.

At Gross Shuman, we represent many landlords, both commercial and residential property owners. Though this bill is not yet law, we advise everyone who owns residential rental property in New York State to be aware and be prepared for its potential implementation.

While it may be rooted in good intentions, the moratorium could cause significant financial hardship to landlords. For example, though the ban is listed as 5 ½ months, its practical effect can extend much longer.

It can take several weeks or months for an eviction proceeding to reach the point of warrant execution. So it is conceivable that where a tenant fails to pay rent in September and then fails to pay on October 1, the landlord begins eviction proceedings. Before a warrant can be executed, November 1 arrives and the moratorium is in effect. In this scenario, the tenant can live rent-free in the property for as many as nine months. During this time period, the landlord will still have to maintain the property and stay current on any mortgage, tax bills, and utilities, despite having no income from the property.

The bottom line for residential landlords is this: landlords need to prepare for the reality that another eviction moratorium may soon be in place. For some landlords, that may mean building up a cash reserve to cover expenses if there is a gap in rent collection. Another piece of guidance is simply to stay in contact with your tenants. We saw many clients during the COVID-19 moratorium work with their tenants to collect partial rent, or make other arrangements. If you are in contact with your tenants and maintain good relationships, you may be able to be proactive and work with them through a difficult period, rather than not communicating and facing a potential of significant time without rent.

We represent landlords at every step of this process. I am available to answer any questions and see how we might be able to assist you with any landlord-tenant issues you have.

To read the text of the New York State Senate Bill, click here.

John K. Rottaris concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial and business litigation, creditors’ rights, commercial collections, landlord-tenant law, bankruptcy law and tax certiorari. He also represents manufacturers and manufacturers’ sales representatives in commission and contract disputes. He can be reached at 716-854-4300 ext. 206 or