Legal Services NYC and Legal Aid Move to Intervene Against Landlords' “Frivolous and Meritless” Lawsuit Attacking New York State’s Eviction Moratorium

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(NEW YORK, NY) – The Legal Aid Society and Legal Services NYC filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by a group of landlords seeking to rollback New York State’s recently enacted eviction moratorium on behalf of Housing Court Answers and Make the Road.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently upheld the State’s new law against a similar challenge after Albany enacted amendments to its eviction moratorium, invalidating the landlords’ claims.
To date, all three lawsuits filed by the landlord lobby in New York State against the statewide eviction moratorium have been defeated in court.

Residential eviction moratoriums are credited with saving lives across the United States, in addition to providing critical time necessary for renters to apply for, and their landlords to receive, financial assistance through newly created rental assistance programs.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing public health emergency. As of October 14, 2021, over 2.5 million New Yorkers had tested positive for COVID-10 and over 55,000 have died from the disease. The number of cases in New York has continued to rise despite six months of general vaccine eligibility to all adults living or working in New York.

“This lawsuit is another frivolous and meritless attempt from the landlord lobby to protect their bottom line, and we are confident that a court will quickly reject these amended claims,” said Edward Josephson, Supervising Attorney, the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “The Legislature promptly amended the law to reflect the Supreme Court’s due process concerns, and the amended statute now gives landlords their day in court while continuing to protect millions of tenants statewide. We are looking forward to the court granting our motion to ensure that tenants’ interests are fully represented.”

“There is nothing unconstitutional about New York’s evenly-balanced eviction moratorium," said Roland Nimis, Deputy Director of Housing at Legal Services NYC's Bronx office. "The landlord lobby’s continued prosecution of this challenge even after the legislature amended the law speaks volumes about what they're after. We have every confidence the court will grant our motion and continue to uphold this life-saving moratorium that protects so many vulnerable families across New York City."

"We're sick and tired of these frivolous landlord lobby lawsuits," said Jose Lopez, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. "Legislators passed a common-sense, and legally sound, policy to protect tenants' lives during a global pandemic. While communities mourn the 55,000 New Yorkers who have died, the landlord lobby continues to think only of how it can displace people to boost their own profits. Shame on them."

"Thousands of tenants have called Housing Court Answers for help during the pandemic, fearful of eviction and losing their homes. The state moratorium offers life-saving protection – without it, thousands face certain eviction, possible homelessness and increased exposure to COVID. The moratorium gives us, and other nonprofits, a chance to connect tenants to assistance with back rent and legal defense which are critical in our recovery from this pandemic," said Jenny Laurie, Executive Director, Housing Court Answers.


Our Citywide Legal Assistance Hotline is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 4 pm. Call 917-661-4500 to speak to an intake officer in any language.


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