Eviction and Foreclosure Relief

Resources for All Members 

Nationwide eviction moratorium through 12/31/20:

On September 2, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a broad nationwide eviction moratorium through the end of the year that covers millions of tenants who have lost income during the pandemic. Under the moratorium, eligible tenants cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent until December 31, 2020.

Eligible Pennsylvania residents who are facing eviction are immediately covered under the nationwide eviction moratorium.

If you live in New York State, New Jersey, or Connecticut, you are currently covered by your state’s eviction moratorium. New York and Connecticut recently extended their eviction moratoriums through December 31, 2020. You will not be covered by the nationwide eviction moratorium because you are already covered at the state level during the same period. If you live in New Jersey, the state’s eviction moratorium is currently set to expire on November 26, 2020. If/when New Jersey’s eviction moratorium expires and if you are eligible, you will then be covered by the nationwide eviction moratorium through 12/31/20.

Read more about the nationwide eviction moratorium, its eligibility criteria, and what you can do to be protected against eviction here.

Pre-Paid Legal assistance for housing issues:

HTC-represented workers, who have access to pre-paid legal assistance through their union contract, can contact the Pre-Paid Legal Fund with housing issues including tenant/landlord issues, evictions, and foreclosures. Retirees from IWA shops are also eligible for this service. For more information call: (212) 586-6400; ext. 4258

Resources for New York State Residents:

Protection from eviction:

On March 20th, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued a moratorium on all evictions. On August 12, 2020, the New York State Court System issued a directive continuing the suspension of all eviction proceedings filed on or after March 17, 2020 and declared that no outstanding or new residential warrants of eviction may be executed prior to October 1, 2020. Residential eviction cases filed before March 17, 2020 must be conferenced before a judge before proceeding, but nobody can be forcefully removed from their residence until at least October 1, 2020. Please note: tenants are still obligated to pay their rent.

Governor Cuomo provided some additional relief to renters on May 7th, 2020, including:

  • No Fees. Renters cannot be charged fees for late or missed payments during the moratorium. 
  • Security Deposits can be Used Towards Rent. Renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can use their security deposit to pay rent and repay their security deposit over time.

On June 30, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, which gives additional protections to renters in New York State.

  • Courts cannot issue an eviction order if any part of the county in which the renter resides is still shut down due to COVID-19.
  • In eviction proceedings, renters can now use financial hardship due to COVID-19 as a defense. The law instructs courts to examine a renter’s income before and during the COVID-19 shutdown, liquid assets, and their eligibility for, and use of, government assistance such as food stamps and unemployment benefits.

Despite these protections, landlords can still seek money judgements for unpaid rent that has accrued during this period.

Mortgage relief:

On March 21st, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State regulated financial institutions will provide mortgage forbearance and financial protections for New Yorkers facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. The protections are as follows:

  • 90-Day Grace Period for Mortgage Payments. New York State regulated financial institutions will allow borrowers financially impacted by COVID-19 to delay mortgage payments for up to 90 days, consistent with applicable guidelines.
  • No Negative Credit Impact.  Individuals applying to delay mortgage payments will not receive any negative impact to their credit score as a result of applying for relief
  • No Fees. Late fees and fees for online payments will be suspended during this period.
  • No Foreclosures.

To take advantage of this relief, contact your bank/lender directly. 

Free legal services to prevent foreclosure:

The Homeowner Protection Program, a network of 87 community-based organizations throughout the state vetted by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, is offering free housing counseling and legal services to New York Residents facing foreclosure. Call 1-855-HOME-456 or 646-786-0888 to get referred to a counselor or attorney or visit https://www.homeownerhelpny.com/get-help

Additional Resources for New York City Residents:

Assistance paying your rent:

If your work schedule was reduced as a result of the Coronavirus crisis and you are unable to pay your rent, you may be eligible for a special grant for emergency rental assistance. Visit the ACCESS HRA website to fill out an eligibility application.

Once you finish your application, an HRA staff member will call you to complete your eligibility interview.

Protection from eviction:

All pending eviction orders in New York City are still suspended until further notice. But, as of June 20, 2020, New York City landlords are permitted to file new eviction petitions. New York City renters still have additional rights due to the pandemic:

  • New York City Housing Courts are now open for emergency cases. Emergencies include if your landlord has illegally locked you out of your home without a court order, if you need emergency repairs, or essential utilities like heat or hot water. You can start an emergency case online or over the phone. For more information visit www.nycourts.gov or call 833-503-0447 (toll-free).
  • If you are served with an eviction notice, you do not have to go to a court house to respond. New eviction petitions are required to include instructions for how to respond by phone and the phone number for Housing Court Answers, a division of the Human Resource Administration’s Office of Civil Justice that provides free legal services to tenants.

At this time, your landlord cannot evict you without going to court and getting an order from a judge. Anyone with knowledge of City marshals attempting to execute on warrants of eviction can report this activity by calling DOI's Bureau of City Marshals at 212-825-5953.

Your landlord cannot evict you, kick you out, or ask you to leave your apartment for having COVID-19 or for being under home-quarantine. For more information visit: https://www1.nyc.gov/content/tenantprotection/pages/covid19-home-quarantine

For additional information on tenant protections in New York City, visit www.nyc.gov.

New York City Gives Property Owners More Time to Pay Their Debts 

Each year, the NYC Department of Finance sells overdue property taxes, water, and sewer charges as tax liens. The buyer of the debt typically adds more fees and interest and as a result, distressed home and property owners face an even larger bill. On July 7, 2020, Mayor de Blasio postponed the sale of tax liens until September 2020, which gives distressed home and property owners more time to apply for assistance programs. 

If you are a home owner or own other property in New York City and have unpaid debt, you can find more information on programs to help you pay off your property taxes, such as standard payment plans, exemption programs, or the City’s Property Tax Interest Deferral program here. 

For more information on tax abatements and exemptions available for property owners, visit the NYC Department of Finance’s website here.

Companies are suspending shut-offs until further notice:

According to the NYC Human Resources Administration offices, electricity, gas or oil for heat will not be turned off for non-payment until further notice, even if you get a notice that your service will end. To contact this City Department, call (718) 557-1399

Stop Debt Collectors from Contacting You During this Crisis: 

If you are a NYC resident facing financial difficulties because of the Coronavirus, you can request that debt collectors stop contacting you about your existing debt. The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs has created a letter template that you can fill out and mail to the debt collectors that contact you. Once the debt collector receives your letter, they cannot continue to contact you so long as the state of emergency in NYC persists (with very few exceptions). 

For more information, visit nyc.gov

For help with writing the letter, you can schedule a free financial counseling appointment with the City, here.

Resources for New Jersey Residents:

Protections from evictions and foreclosures:

On March 19th, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 106 that placed a  moratorium on all evictions throughout the state. This means that no one may be removed from their home as a result of an eviction proceeding, with rare exceptions for violence or endangering other tenants.  At this time, the moratorium will last for no longer than two months following the end of the Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency established by Executive Order No. 103 (issued on March 9, 2020), whichever ends later. 

Additional rental assistance: 

On April 24th, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 128 allowing renters to use their security deposit, as well as their portion of any interest and/or earnings accumulated thereon, towards rent payments due or to become due from the tenant during the Public Heath Emergency established in Executive Order No. 103 or up to 60 days after the Public Health Emergency terminates. 

According to the order, tenants will not have to pay back their security deposit relating to their current lease agreement, but would still be responsible for any money spent by the landlord that would have been reimbursable via the security deposit as outlined in their original lease (like damage to the property). If a tenant extends or renews their lease, then the tenant will have to pay back the security deposit in full either six months after Governor Murphy declares an end to the COVID-19 health crisis or on the date that the current lease agreement is extended or renewed, whichever is later.

This order will remain in place until 60 days after Governor Murphy declares an end to the COVID-19 health crisis.

The New Jersey Division of Housing and Community Resources offers a variety of programs including rental assistance. Visit https://njdca-housing.dynamics365portals.us/en-US/ to complete an online screening and determine if you are eligible.

Mortgage relief:

On March 28th, 2020, Governor Murphy announced that financial institutions will provide mortgage forbearance and financial protections for New Jersey Residents facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Under the proposal, New Jersey Residents who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for the following relief upon contacting their financial institution:

  • 90-Day Grace Period for Mortgage Payments.  Financial institutions must allow borrowers financially impacted by COVID-19 to delay mortgage payments for up to 90 days, consistent with applicable guidelines.
  • No Negative Credit Impact.  Financial institutions will not report late payments to credit reporting agencies, consistent with applicable guidelines, for borrowers taking advantage of COVID-19-related relief.
  • Relief from Fees and Charges: For at least 90 days, financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related fees for customers who have requested assistance.

You should contact your bank/lender directly to take advantage of this relief. For a list of financial institutions signed on, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, and more information about the relief visit the State’s website: https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/c...