Landlords find way around housing court backlog
Litigation partner, Andrew J. Wagner, spoke to The Real Deal about the impact of New York's eviction moratorium and housing court backlogs on landlords. The article stated, "Under the ban, which landlords are challenging in court, tenants can claim protection from eviction for nonpayment by checking a box affirming that the pandemic has affected them financially. And landlords can contest that by signing an affidavit — a statement sworn under penalty of perjury — that the tenant’s hardship did not exist."
Andrew explained that "the opportunity to challenge the hardship declaration isn’t really an opportunity, because it still puts the burden on the landlord[.]"
The article noted that neither Andrew nor the other attorneys quoted had heard of a case in which a hearing was scheduled to dispute a tenant’s hardship. Andrew offered insight into how Herrick is exploring means by which an owner could establish proof before signing the affidavit, such as by asking the tenant to provide proof of employment or finances. In this case, the landlord would then have a "good faith basis" to assume the tenant is not experiencing the hardship they profess.
Andrew proposed, "That at least might get us over the hurdle of signing the affidavit to get us a hearing[.]"
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