S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
I N A S S E M B L Y
April 8, 2020
Introduced by M. of A. NIOU -- read once and referred to the Committee
AN ACT to suspend rent payments for certain tenants in response to the
outbreak of coronavirus; and to amend the state finance law, in
relation to establishing the COVID-19 rental assistance fund
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. For the purposes of this act:
(a) "actual income" means (i) for a residential tenant, all wages,
tips, overtime, salary, recurring gifts, returns on investment, welfare
assistance, social security payments, child support payments, unemploy-
ment benefits, emergency federal, state or local assistance, or any
other form of income that may be used to pay rent; and (ii) for a not-
for-profit corporation or small business, all revenue, including emer-
gency federal, state or local assistance, or any other form of income
that may be used to pay rent, received minus the amount of any wages or
salary paid to employees of the not-for-profit corporation or small
(b) "landlord" means the person or entity to whom a tenant owes rent;
(c) "rent" means the amount charged in consideration for the use and
occupancy of real property pursuant to a written or oral rental agree-
ment or statute;
(d) "state of emergency" means the state of emergency declared by
executive order 202 that began on March 7, 2020.
(e) "covered tenant" includes a residential tenant having the same
meaning as paragraph (a) or (b) of subdivision 1 of section 235-f of the
real property law, or those who otherwise pay for the use and occupancy
of a residential dwelling, except for a residential tenant receiving a
local, state or federal income based rental subsidy, a tenant that is a
not-for-profit corporation, or a tenant that is a small business as
defined by section 131 of the economic development law.
§ 2. (a) (i) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, rule or regu-
lation to the contrary, any covered tenant in the state that has lost
earned income, has been forced to close their place of business, or
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
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whose business activities have been substantially curtailed resulting in
a loss of income as a result of government ordered restrictions in
response to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), shall
be responsible for rent payments up to thirty percent of their current
income or their contractual rent, whichever is less, per month for the
duration of ninety days following the effective date of this act.
(ii) Where a tenant is authorized to pay an amount that is less than
their contractual or statutory rent pursuant to this act, the tenant
shall provide the landlord with a written and signed statement affirming
the tenant's aggregate actual income for the thirty days prior to the
date such rent was due. Such payment shall absolve the tenant of any
further obligation to pay rent and any difference between the rent that
would have been contractually or statutorily owed and the amount paid
pursuant to this paragraph shall be waived, except where a tenant later
receives additional income, such rent obligations shall be recalculated.
(iii) In a summary proceeding for the non-payment of rent under arti-
cle 7 of the real property actions and proceedings law, a tenant may
raise a payment made pursuant to this act as a defense to non-payment.
If the amount of the tenant's actual income is in dispute, the court
shall review documentation of the tenant's income in camera, unless
otherwise deemed necessary by the court. Notwithstanding any other
provision of law to the contrary, pay stubs, copies of checks and signed
letters from the tenant's employer, and other customary documentation of
income shall constitute prima facie evidence of the tenant's actual
income and shall be presumptively admissible in such summary proceeding.
(b) Any tenant whose lease expires during the state of emergency shall
have the option of extending such lease under the terms existing prior
to the expiration of the lease for a period of up to ninety days after
the expiration of the state of emergency.
(c) Late fees, interest or other penalties shall not be collectable
for rent accrued during the existence of the state of emergency.
§ 3. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a landlord that
has lost rental income pursuant to this act and has not been fully
compensated by emergency federal, state or local assistance, may apply
to the division of housing and community renewal for relief. The commis-
sioner may, upon satisfaction of the veracity of the landlord's applica-
tion and to the extent possible, authorize the distribution of any emer-
gency aid available through the COVID-19 rental assistance fund pursuant
to section 99-hh of the state finance law in response to the outbreak of
the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), to any such landlord in
the amount of rental income lost. The commissioner of the division of
housing and community renewal shall promulgate rules and regulations to
effectuate this act.
§ 4. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no court shall
accept for filing a petition to commence a new summary proceeding to
recover possession of real property under article 7 of the real property
actions and proceedings law for non-payment of rent for at least thirty
days following the expiration of the state of emergency; provided any
statute of limitations applicable to such summary proceedings shall be
tolled for thirty days. In no event shall late or reduced rent payments
during the state of emergency constitute the basis for a summary hold-
over proceeding for the chronic nonpayment of rent.
§ 5. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 99-hh to
read as follows:
§ 99-HH. COVID-19 RENTAL ASSISTANCE FUND. 1. THERE IS HEREBY ESTAB-
LISHED IN THE JOINT CUSTODY OF THE COMMISSIONER OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY
A. 10247 3
RENEWAL AND THE COMPTROLLER, A SPECIAL FUND TO BE KNOWN AS THE "COVID-19
RENTAL ASSISTANCE FUND".
2. SUCH FUND SHALL CONSIST OF ANY UNRESTRICTED FEDERAL EMERGENCY
ASSISTANCE FUNDING PROVIDED TO THE STATE THAT MAY BE APPROPRIATED FOR
SUCH PURPOSE, AND ALL OTHER MONEYS APPROPRIATED, CREDITED, OR TRANS-
FERRED THERETO FROM ANY OTHER FUND OR SOURCE PURSUANT TO LAW. NOTHING IN
THIS SECTION SHALL PREVENT THE STATE FROM SOLICITING AND RECEIVING
GRANTS, GIFTS OR BEQUESTS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE FUND AS DEFINED IN
THIS SECTION AND DEPOSITING THEM INTO THE FUND ACCORDING TO LAW.
3. MONEYS OF THE FUND SHALL BE EXPENDED ONLY FOR RELIEF DUE TO REDUCED
RENTAL INCOME CAUSED BY OUTBREAK OF NOVEL CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019
4. MONEYS SHALL BE PAID OUT OF THE FUND ON THE AUDIT AND WARRANT OF
THE COMPTROLLER ON VOUCHERS APPROVED AND CERTIFIED BY THE COMMISSIONER
OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL. ANY INTEREST RECEIVED BY THE COMP-
TROLLER ON MONEYS ON DEPOSIT IN THE COVID-19 RENTAL ASSISTANCE FUND
SHALL BE RETAINED IN AND BECOME PART OF SUCH FUND.
§ 6. This act shall take effect immediately and shall be deemed to
have been in full force and effect on and after March 7, 2020.