Family Member Wasn't Tenant Entitled to CEEFPA Hardship Declaration Protection
LVT Number: #31550
A mother, who permitted her adult daughter to live in a house the mother owned, sued to evict her daughter from the premises. The daughter was a licensee who didn't pay rent. They signed a court-ordered stipulation on Jan. 16, 2020, by which the daughter agreed to move out of the house by Sept. 30, 2020. An eviction warrant was issued on March 19, 2021, based on the daughter's failure to vacate. But the Office of Court Administration (OCA) later declared the warrant invalid and directed a reconference. The mother asked the court to enforce the stipulation, and to renew and substitute a duplicate eviction warrant. The daughter didn't respond except to file a Hardship Declaration dated March 30, 2021, claiming financial hardship and significant health risk.
The court ruled for the mother and re-issued a judgment of possession and eviction warrant with no stay. The court discussed a "somewhat confused state" as to whether the CEEFPA required an automatic adjournment of any post COVID-19 summary proceeding until Sept. 1, 2021, if the respondent filed a Hardship Declaration. The court cited various prior cases and noted that many courts had automatically declined to schedule any hardship declaration cases until after September 2021. The court found that the COVID-19 eviction moratorium applied to "tenants" but that a licensee family member who didn't have any financial obligation in connection with occupancy wasn't a tenant. To hold that a Hardship Declaration wasn't contestible would violate a landlord's due process constitutional rights. Due process requires that all parties have "the opportunity to be heard."
Bibow v. Bibow: Index No. LT-466-19/HU, 2021 NY Slip Op 50705(U)(Dist. Ct. Suffolk; 7/28/21; Hackeling, J)
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