Supreme Court partially blocks New York’s eviction moratorium

How this affects renters and landlords in Buffalo
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Posted at 5:32 PM, Aug 13, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Supreme Court has blocked part of New York's eviction moratorium. All six conservative justices voted to strike down part of the law that denies landlords the chance to contest a tenant's claim of hardship.

The supreme court’s decision states 'no man can be a judge in his own case,’ and the court should determine the hardships.

Tenants Rights Attorney, Adam Bojak, said this means some tenants can now be evicted.

“At this point, tenants are scared,” Bojak said. “What it does is it’s going to undercut the most important part of what New York has put in place as far as protection for tenants.”

Bojak said this means filling out hardship declaration forms does not automatically stop the eviction from proceeding. It’s now only a defense to the action.

Corey Hogan is an attorney at HoganWillig Attorneys at Law, and he said that he represents about 200 landlords.

“Our opinion is it’s not going to open the courts to any significant eviction process as long as the current statute on the books stays in place,” Hogan said.

Bojack said he believes some evictions will take place because of this ruling.

“They are coming, but I don’t think it will be a big wave as you might think because the courts can only handle so much,” Bojak said.

Some are considering this a win for landlords because technically they can start to evict some people, but Hogan said evictions are not that simple.

“Even before COVID, you were required to give a five day notice then a 14 day notice. Then, you have to bring a proceeding that the defendant can defend,” Hogan said.

After the court ruling, incoming Governor of New York State, Kathy Hochul said no New Yorkers who have been financially hit by the pandemic should be forced to leave their homes, and she said she will quickly address this Supreme Court’s decision.

“She has determination to fix the law, so the eviction process will be stopped as well if we don’t do something more than what just happened,” Hogan said.

On top of all of this, New York's Emergency Rental Assistance Program is very slow moving. Both lawyers tell me most renters and landlords are still waiting for money.

“There’s worry and fear especially with the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the funds that are being put aside but not being paid out,” Bojak said.

New York's moratorium is going to expire at the end of August, and the federal moratorium remains in place until October 3.