On December 28, 2020 the State Legislature passed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (the “Act”) which the Governor subsequently signed into law.
Among other things, the Act:
- Stays all pending residential eviction matters through February 26, 2021 and stays any matter commenced between December 28, 2020 and January 27, 2021 for sixty (60) days from the date of filing (An exception exists and a case may continue to be heard in certain instances (pending or newly-filed cases) where it is alleged that a tenant has persistently and unreasonably engaged in behavior that substantially infringes upon the use and enjoyment of other tenants or occupants, or causes a substantial safety hazard to others).
- States that prior to May 1, 2021 no court shall issue a default judgment authorizing a residential eviction or authorizing the enforcement of an eviction pursuant to a default judgment, without first holding a hearing upon motion of the Petitioner (Landlord). If a default judgment was issued on or before December 28, 2020, it must be removed and the matter be restored to the calendar upon the Respondent’s (Tenant’s) written or oral request to the Court;
- States that a Tenant is to be provided with a Tenant’s “Hardship Declaration” which, if executed by the Tenant or other lawful occupant, under penalties of perjury may provide the Tenant with a further stay of an eviction proceeding through May 1, 2021. Notwithstanding, the Tenant or other lawful occupant(s) must otherwise comply with all other lawful terms of their tenancy and they will continue to be responsible for payment or rents and/or use and occupancy during this period.
Both Landlords and Tenants need to understand the ramifications of this Law and what options may exist.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been successful resolving a number of Landlord/Tenant situations on behalf of both Landlords and Tenants without the need for court intervention.