Catholic Migration Services was retained by several tenants living in the same building to defend them against unwarranted eviction cases brought by their landlord. After a few years of fierce litigation, our tenant advocacy team settled the case on behalf of the tenants. The sizable settlement resulted in over $300,000.00 in benefits to the tenants including rent waivers and lump sum payouts. Although the tenants agreed to move out of the building in exchange for the financial benefits, each found alternative affordable housing before moving out. Two tenants were able to remain in their apartments for several months after the settled on move-out date to allow them to find affordable and safe homes.
This week two Right to Counsel bills became law citywide. Local Laws 53 and 54 — strengthen existing protections and expedite universal access to legal representation for tenants facing Housing Court proceedings. Lauren Springer, a tenant leader at Catholic Migration Services, said that help from Catholic Migration Services helped her and her neighbors organize to fight against their landlord’s “predatory practices which targeted the most vulnerable.”
“Later, we joined the fight to ensure the passage of landmark legislation guaranteeing legal representation to all eligible tenants facing an eviction in housing court. That right is even more critical given our current housing crisis made worse by the COVID pandemic,” Springer said. “It is truly momentous that the Mayor has signed into law two bills that would not only make the right to counsel immediately accessible citywide, but would also fund community-based organizations to get the word out.”
Read the full story in the Queens Daily Eagle: Universal Right to Counsel for tenants effective next month
In December 2020, New York State enacted the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. Among other things, that law stopped most pending eviction cases through February 26th and established a procedure for stopping such cases, and new cases commenced after the law was enacted, through at least May 1st. The law does not apply to cases in which the landlord alleges certain nuisance conduct.
To stop an eviction case through at least May 1st, a tenant must fill out a form called a “Tenant’s Declaration of Hardship During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” If a tenant has not already received a Hardship Declaration from the landlord or from the Housing Court, they can obtain one by visiting the New York State Office of Court Administration website at www.nycourts.gov/eefpa/. The declaration is available in many languages.
Tenants may also fill out a Hardship Declaration online at EVICTIONFREENYC.ORG.
Completed Hardship Declarations may be mailed to the landlord, the landlord’s attorney, or to the Housing Court. If there is a pending court case, Queens tenants may email them to QueensHardshipDeclaration@nycourts.gov; Brooklyn tenants may email them to KingsHardshipDedclaration@nycourts.gov.
Catholic Migration Services represents low-income New Yorkers living in Queens free of charge. If you have questions about how to file a Hardship Declaration or whether you should file one, please call Catholic Migration Services at (347) 472-3500, extension 1027.
Many New York tenants have questions about losing their homes during the pandemic. The same is true for undocumented New Yorkers. Recently, The City teamed up with Documented to answer questions submitted by readers in these situations and the Tenant Advocacy Program of Catholic Migration Services explained tenant rights in the middle of a health crisis.
Noticias importantes: ¡Gracias al gran trabajo de los inquilinos en todo Nueva York, aquí hay nuevas protecciones de vivienda para evitar el desalojo hasta el 1 de mayo! Para obtener más información, llámenos al (347) 472-3500 ext. 1026 o ext. 1019.