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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Q: Can tenants in New York City defer rent payments due to coronavirus layoffs?

The global pandemic surrounding the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is expected to deal a large blow to the economy as staggering numbers of Americans are losing their jobs and countless businesses are threatened by losses caused by the prolonged government lockdowns. Heavily-populated New York City — as the epicenter of America’s COVID-19 cases–may be particularly hard-hit.

New York and New Jersey real estate attorneys who work with landlords and tenants are bracing for an anticipated uptick in litigation–especially over tenants falling behind in their rent– if unemployment rates and the general economy don’t turn around quickly.

How many NYC tenants may be unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19 layoffs?

The expected impact of layoffs due to the coronavirus on New York City tenants’ ability to pay their rent is frightening. A recent Property Nest survey provided some grim statistics:

  • 38% of New Yorkers do not have savings sufficient to pay a single month’s rent without their job;
  • 14% of New Yorkers have one month’s rent saved;
  • 25% of New Yorkers have six month’s rent saved.

Fortunately, those New York tenants who are financially vulnerable due to the impact of COVID-19, may be able to take advantage of the “90-day moratorium on evictions for both residential and commercial properties” issued by New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, in response to the pandemic. This was enacted early in the lockdown period so tenants would not need to immediately worry about becoming homeless through eviction if they were unable to pay their rent during this time period because of lost income. Ask your real estate attorney for more information and details regarding this and other COVID-19-inspired Executive Orders and how they may impact your rights and responsibilities as a tenant or landlord. As the virus continues to evolve, so too do the timelines and terms of the Executive Orders in response to it.

If you are a tenant or a landlord and your ability to pay or collect rent has been impacted by COVID-19, the New York and New Jersey real estate attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Staten Island, New York and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent landlords and tenants in every aspect of residential and commercial real estate law.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.