Attorneys at the law firm of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court on behalf of thirty-seven property owners, against the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts of New York State, Lawrence K. Marks. The lawsuit asserts that the hardship declaration revised in New York Laws Chapter 417 (State Senate Bill S50001) is unconstitutional.
In December 2020, the New York State legislature enacted the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. This law allowed tenants to forgo paying rent, or holdover beyond their lease term, without the risk of eviction by checking a box on a form that claimed “financial hardship.” The law did not require tenants to provide any additional information to substantiate “financial hardship.”
On August 12, 2021, the United States Supreme Court ruled that New York State’s eviction moratorium was unconstitutional. Despite the Supreme Court ruling, in September 2021, the New York State Legislature passed S50001, which extends the eviction moratorium until at least January 15, 2022.
New York State lawmakers claim S50001 addresses the Supreme Court’s constitutional objections to the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. However, housing providers are still deprived of their due process rights under S50001, as they face a virtually impossible burden of proving a tenant’s alleged hardship is invalid.
Attorney Paul J. Cambria, Jr. stated “The current law is not fair because it allows bogus claims of COVID hardship that landlords cannot challenge.”
Attorney Jaime Michelle Cain added “S50001 allows for the continued use of an unchecked hardship declaration by tenants, which in turn threatens the stability of the housing industry and risks the loss of affordable housing units across New York State. The law denies housing providers with an equal opportunity to be heard in court, and allows tenants to not pay their rent without any legal repercussions.”
The lawsuit seeks to bar further enforcement of the use of the self-proclaiming hardship declaration. This will enable housing providers to assist those tenants who demonstrate financial distress resulting from COVID-19. The full lawsuit filed by Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria can be found by clicking here.
Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP has been serving all the legal needs of the Western New York community for over 50 years. With over 50 attorneys, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP is one of Buffalo’s largest law firms. The firm serves individuals, organizations, and corporations in the areas of Accidents & Personal Injury, Business & Corporate Law, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense Trials & Appeals, Estate Planning & Administration, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Matrimonial & Family Law, Medical Malpractice, Professional Licensing Defense, Real Estate, Social Security Disability, Sports & Entertainment Law, Workers’ Compensation, and Zoning & Land Use. In addition to its headquarters in Buffalo, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP maintains satellite offices in Amherst and Cheektowaga, New York; and a regional office in Los Angeles, CA.