Court Vacates ERAP Stay Where Unregulated Tenant's Tenancy Had Expired

LVT Number: #32204

Landlord of two-family house sued to eject tenants of one unit. Their lease had expired on Jan. 31, 2019, after which they remained as month-to-month tenants. Landlord sent tenants a 90-day termination notice in March 2020, and tenants failed to vacate. Tenants now owed over $73,000 in back rent. Tenants claimed that they suffered a loss of household income due to COVID-19 and were unable to pay rent. Tenants received public assistance from HRA during this time and HRA paid landlord $3,600 toward rent arrears.

Landlord of two-family house sued to eject tenants of one unit. Their lease had expired on Jan. 31, 2019, after which they remained as month-to-month tenants. Landlord sent tenants a 90-day termination notice in March 2020, and tenants failed to vacate. Tenants now owed over $73,000 in back rent. Tenants claimed that they suffered a loss of household income due to COVID-19 and were unable to pay rent. Tenants received public assistance from HRA during this time and HRA paid landlord $3,600 toward rent arrears. Tenants later claimed that they had filed an application for ERAP funds, but landlord stated it had no present intent to receive the funds and reinstate the tenancy.

The court granted landlord's request to vacate the ERAP stay that now applied to the case. The court said that "ERAP only proves to be helpful in those circumstances where the landlord's participation and acceptance of its payment creates, prolongs, or maintains a tenancy. Here, this is not the case[.]" The court directed the clerk to enter a money judgment in the amount of $69,900 against tenants and in favor of landlord, and directed tenants to pay $2,100 in monthly use and occupancy pending conclusion of the case.

Tong v. Benito: Index No. 150303/2022, 2022 NY Slip Op 50731(U)(Sup. Ct. Richmond; 7/29/22; Castorina Jr., J)