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Warren Estis, left, and Alexander Lycoyannis. Courtesy photos Warren Estis, left, and Alexander Lycoyannis. Courtesy photos

New York State has recently enacted two laws aimed at preventing residential and commercial evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law (1) the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (the “Residential Act”) on Dec. 28, 2020, and (2) the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021 (the “Commercial Act;” collectively with the Residential Act, the “Acts”) on March 9, 2021. (As the names suggest, the Acts also seek to temporarily prevent both residential and commercial foreclosures; these aspects of the Acts are beyond the scope of this column.) The Acts build upon prior eviction protections set forth in Cuomo’s various executive orders and—with respect to residential tenancies—last summer’s Tenant Safe Harbor Act.

This column will summarize the Acts’ provisions, which, with exceptions discussed below, track each other closely. Generally, the Acts’ provisions are effective through May 1, 2021—although, as with other tenant protection measures enacted in response to COVID-19, this date may very well be extended.

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