NY Courts Still In Flux on Issue of Evictions and Foreclosures

June 30, 2020

Are you contemplating an eviction or foreclosure in New York? Good luck understanding the current state of affairs. On May 7, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order extending the moratorium on foreclosures on residential and commercial properties for an additional 60 days, starting on June 20. Important to note, this freeze only protected those who were eligible for unemployment benefits or otherwise “facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic”. While that standard was relatively clear, it did leave room for interpretation over what constitutes “financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic”.  However, it now appears that NY Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks may be attempting to expand that Executive Order. Judge Marks recently provided guidance for implementing the Executive Order, in the form of a memo to certain other judges dated June 23, stating that no foreclosures can proceed unless the property is vacant and abandoned. This broad application has no ties to COVID and no set end date. Does Judge Marks have the authority to extend or expand on an Executive Order, and was that even his intention? Some NY lawyers are questioning this and waiting for further guidance from the Governor or the Chief Judge.

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