Manhattan Civil Court: Landlord cannot take second bite of the same apple—not in the Big Apple—where a moratorium on evictions remains in effect until August 31, 2021.
After failing to evict a Manhattan tenant in New York City Housing Court due to NY’s moratorium on evictions, a landlord attempted to obtain a money judgment by suing its tenant in a separate –and now dismissed—lawsuit in New York Civil Court.
The Court granted the tenant’s motion to dismiss his landlord’s case, which not only sought a money judgment for owed rent, but also attorneys’ fees. The Court agreed with the tenant, finding that the Landlord’s pending eviction or holdover petition involving the same parties regarding the same apartment barred the Landlord’s second lawsuit.
The Court was unconvinced by the Landlord’s argument that because of Governor Cuomo’s COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (CEEFPA), the eviction case was not active or pending. The Court stated that the landlord’s attempt to redefine the word ‘pending’ was unavailing and that the “holdover action is ‘pending’ because, by definition, it remains active and undecided.” Moreover, the Court reasoned that the stay on the evictions is extended only until August 31, 2021, and as such “it cannot be said that it is not ‘pending’ in any meaningful way.”
This decision is significant because it denies the Landlord’s attempt to circumvent the protections afforded to New York tenants by New York State’s current emergency eviction moratorium.
Governor Cuomo’s COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (CEEFPA) remains in effect until August 31, 2021.
The tenant was represented by Usar Law Group, PC.
Read Manhattan Civil Court’s Decision/Order below: