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Apartment buildings line Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, NY, Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Photograph: Victor J. Blue Apartment buildings in New York City. (Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

Governor Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (L. 2020, c. 381; COVID Relief Act) on Dec. 28, 2020 providing needed and welcome, albeit temporary, housing security for many vulnerable New Yorkers as the State recovers from a continuing health pandemic. The COVID Relief Act, however, perpetuates a glaring omission in New York law by excluding a single class of New York residents—owners of co-op apartments. There are an estimated 350,000 co-op units in New York and they alone are excluded from COVID Relief Act protections afforded renters and owners of condominium units and 1-3 family homes. The gross disparity in treatment under New York law and lack of equivalent protections for vulnerable co-op owners is a problem that has long vexed housing advocates and extends far beyond the COVID Relief Act. COVID-19 has only highlighted the urgent need to treat all New York homeowners equally and fairly.

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