Real Deal: Evictions down in wake of New York rent law

Since the state legislature took a hacksaw to New York’s rent law in June, New York City has seen a precipitous decline in eviction proceedings.

Evictions filed against tenants for nonpayment fell by more than 35,000, or 46 percent, following the law’s enactment in June, compared with the same period in 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported. Eviction cases not involving nonpayment of rent also declined, but only by 12 percent.

New York City’s supervising judge for housing courts, Judge Jean T. Schneider, attributed the sharp decline in nonpayment cases to new rules that give tenants more time to respond to notices of lateness before a lawsuit is filed.

Under the previous framework, landlords only had to wait three days to file an eviction suit after giving the tenant notice. Now they must wait 14 days.

Eviction filings decreased by 61 percent in July and 68 percent in August compared with the same periods in 2018. They have picked up a bit since then, but have still fallen 35 percent overall from last year.

Tenant lawyers point to the new rent law and an expansion of access to counsel for some NYC tenants, but real estate attorneys attribute the drop in evictions to new rules that, allow rent-regulated tenants to dispute past rent charges going back six years instead of four. The expanded lookback period deters landlords from filing eviction proceedings because they fear tenants will file counterclaims, the attorneys said.