Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021
On March 9, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed into law the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021 (L. 2021, c. 73; “Act”). The Act provides immediate relief to respondents and defendants in commercial eviction proceedings and certain commercial foreclosure actions in New York State, including, among other things:
- Staying pending commercial eviction proceedings and many commercial real property mortgage foreclosure actions (“Covered Commercial Foreclosure Actions”) for sixty days.
- Staying commercial eviction proceedings and Covered Commercial Foreclosure Actions filed within thirty days of March 9, 2021 for sixty days.
- Publishing a form “Hardship Declarations” to be used by tenant-respondents in certain commercial eviction matters (“Covered Commercial Eviction Proceedings”) and defendant-mortgagors in Covered Commercial Foreclosure Actions in reporting financial hardship during or due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Staying (or delaying the filing of) Covered Commercial Eviction Proceedings and Covered Commercial Foreclosure Actions until at least May 1, 2021 where a Hardship Declaration has been properly sent to the landlord, mortgagee, or the Court as described below.
- “Covered Commercial Foreclosure Actions” are commercial foreclosures involving a mortgagor which owns ten or fewer commercial units (whether directly or indirectly) and is a business resident in New York, independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field, and employing fifty or fewer persons.
- “Covered Commercial Eviction Proceedings” are evictions involving a commercial tenant which is a resident of New York State, is independently owned and operated, employs fifty or fewer persons, and is not “dominant” in its field.
- The COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Bussinesses Act of 2021
- Administrative Order AO/96/21 (addressing commercial eviction proceedings).
- Administrative Order AO/95/21 (addressing commercial foreclosure actions)
- Memorandum of Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks (addressing commericial eviction proceedings), dated March 15, 2021.
- Memorandum of Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks (addressing commercial foreclosure actions), dated March 15, 2021.
Commercial Hardship Declarations:
When signed and submitted by commercial tenants and commercial mortgagors, the Hardship Declaration requires that the case be temporarily delayed until May 1, 2021. Also, the Declaration can help prove financial hardship that may be a defense against commercial eviction or commercial foreclosure under New York law.
If your landlord or mortgage holder has not yet started a proceeding against you, you should send the Hardship Declaration to the landlord or mortgage holder (or to their agent). If you are already a party to a commercial eviction or foreclosure proceeding, you should file the Hardship Declaration directly with the Court, and send a copy to your landlord or mortgage holder (or their agent).
Important: If you have a lawyer, you should discuss the Hardship Declaration with the lawyer before signing and sending it to your landlord, mortgage holder, or the court.