Federal Court Denies Preliminary Injunction Against Amended Hardship Declaration Law
LVT Number: #31769
A group of landlords challenged New York's COVID Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act (CEEFPA) in federal court. The District Court ruled against plaintiff-landlords, who then filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. While the appeal was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court granted plaintiff's application for injunctive relief pending outcome of the appeal, to stop enforcement of Part A of CEEFPA, which precluded a landlord from contesting a tenant's self-certified Hardship Declaration. The SCOTUS ruled in August 2021 that the CEEFPA provision violated the U.S. Constitution's due process clause (see LVT #31566).
In September 2021, the Second Circuit denied landlords' appeal of the District Court's denial of their CEEFPA challenge, as well as their additional challenge to the new residential eviction moratorium law enacted by NY State after the old moratorium statute expired on Aug. 31, 2021. The new law gave landlords the opportunity to raise good faith objections to tenant Hardship Declarations in court proceedings that would otherwise be delayed while the eviction moratorium remained in effect, now through Jan. 15, 2022. The Second Circuit dismissed landlords' due process claims as moot in light of NY's new eviction moratorium law, and found that it lacked jurisdiction to enjoin enforcement of the new state law. But the court found the mootness of landlords' due process claims was attributable to the legal framework and said that landlords might wish to amend their complaint to demonstrate "that the repealed statute retains some force or to attack the newly enacted legislation." The Second Circuit sent the case back to federal District Court.
Landlords then amended their complaint, claiming that the procedures made available by the amended NY State eviction moratorium law was illusory since they couldn't gather and allege the required information to challenge a hardship declaration filed by a tenant. They then went back to the District Court and sought a preliminary injunction.
The court ruled against landlords, finding their claim "disingenuous." The court stated that: (a) landlord-plaintiffs had made no attempt to challenge hardship declarations filed by their tenants; (b) they had other avenues available to effect an eviction that they failed or opted not to pursue; and (c) case law showed that courts have been holding hearings and making discovery available to permit other landlords to meaningfully challenge hardship declarations.
Chrysafis v. Marks: ___ F.Supp.3d ___, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 227977, 2021 WL 5563571 (EDNY; 11/29/21; Brown, J)