Bill Text: NY A03207 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021; relates to eviction proceedings (Part A); relates to foreclosure proceedings (Subpart A); relates to tax sales (Subpart B); establishes hardship declarations for owners of commercial real property (Subpart C) (Part B).

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 87-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-26 - substituted by s471a [A03207 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-A03207-Introduced.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                          3207

                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                    January 22, 2021
                                       ___________

        Introduced by M. of A. BRONSON, HEASTIE, PEOPLES-STOKES, LAVINE, STIRPE,
          DINOWITZ,  CYMBROWITZ,  JEAN-PIERRE,  REYES, EPSTEIN, CRUZ, GOTTFRIED,
          WEINSTEIN, NOLAN, ABBATE, COOK,  GLICK,  AUBRY,  CAHILL,  ENGLEBRIGHT,
          GALEF,  PERRY, PRETLOW, J. RIVERA, CUSICK, BENEDETTO, LUPARDO, HEVESI,
          L. ROSENTHAL, ZEBROWSKI,  THIELE,  WEPRIN,  QUART,  FAHY,  KIM,  OTIS,
          SOLAGES,  STECK,  DAVILA, PICHARDO, BARRON, BICHOTTE HERMELYN, JOYNER,
          SEAWRIGHT, SIMON,  WALKER,  HYNDMAN,  BARNWELL,  CARROLL,  DE LA ROSA,
          DICKENS,  NIOU,  PHEFFER AMATO,  VANEL, WALLACE, D. ROSENTHAL, TAYLOR,
          DARLING, FALL, FERNANDEZ, FRONTUS, GRIFFIN, JACOBSON, McMAHON, SAYEGH,
          ANDERSON, BURDICK, BURGOS, CLARK, GALLAGHER, GONZALEZ-ROJAS,  JACKSON,
          KELLES,  LUNSFORD,  MAMDANI,  MEEKS,  MITAYNES, J. D. RIVERA, SEPTIMO,
          SILLITTI, SOUFFRANT FORREST, ZINERMAN -- read once and referred to the
          Committee on Judiciary

        AN ACT establishing the "COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses
          Act of 2021"; in relation to eviction proceedings; and to provide  for
          the expiration of certain provisions upon the expiration thereof (Part
          A);  and in relation to foreclosure proceedings; and providing for the
          expiration of certain provisions upon the expiration thereof  (Subpart
          A);  in  relation  to  tax  sales; and providing for the expiration of
          certain provisions upon the expiration thereof (Subpart B); to  estab-
          lish hardship declarations for owners of commercial real property; and
          providing  for  the  expiration of such provisions upon the expiration
          thereof (Subpart C) (Part B)

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. This act enacts into law components of legislation relating
     2  to  commercial  eviction  and foreclosure protections. Each component is
     3  wholly contained within a Part identified as Parts A  through  B.    The
     4  effective  date for each particular provision contained within such Part
     5  is set forth in the last section of such  Part.  Any  provision  in  any
     6  section  contained  within  a  Part, including the effective date of the

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD07084-05-1

        A. 3207                             2

     1  Part, which makes reference to a section "of this  act",  when  used  in
     2  connection  with  that particular component, shall be deemed to mean and
     3  refer to the corresponding section of the Part in  which  it  is  found.
     4  Section  four  of this act sets forth the general effective date of this
     5  act.
     6    § 2. Short title. This act shall be known and  may  be  cited  as  the
     7  "COVID-19 Emergency Protect our Small Businesses Act of 2021".
     8    § 3. Legislative intent. The Legislature finds and declares all of the
     9  following:
    10    On March 7, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaimed a state of emergen-
    11  cy  in response to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Measures
    12  necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19  have  brought  about  wide-
    13  spread  economic  and societal disruption, placing the state of New York
    14  in unprecedented circumstances.
    15    COVID-19 presents a historic threat to small businesses.  Thousands of
    16  small businesses are facing eviction or  foreclosure  due  to  necessary
    17  disease control measures that closed or restricted businesses across the
    18  state. The pandemic has further interrupted court operations, the avail-
    19  ability  of counsel, the ability for parties to pay for counsel, and the
    20  ability to safely commute and enter a courtroom,  settlement  conference
    21  and the like.
    22    Ensuring small businesses can survive in this unprecedented time is to
    23  the  mutual  benefit  of all New Yorkers and will help the state address
    24  the pandemic, protect public health, and set the stage for recovery.  It
    25  is, therefore, the intent of this legislation to avoid as many evictions
    26  and  foreclosures of small businesses as possible for businesses experi-
    27  encing a financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    28    As such,  it  is  necessary  to  temporarily  allow  small  businesses
    29  impacted  by  COVID-19 to remain in their place of business.  A limited,
    30  temporary stay is necessary to protect the  public  health,  safety  and
    31  morals  of the people the Legislature represents from the dangers of the
    32  COVID-19 emergency pandemic.

    33                                   PART A

    34    Section 1. Definitions. For the purposes of this act:    1.  "Eviction
    35  proceeding"  means  a  summary  proceeding to recover possession of real
    36  property  under  article  seven  of  the  real  property   actions   and
    37  proceedings  law  relating to a commercial unit or any other judicial or
    38  administrative proceeding to recover possession of real property  relat-
    39  ing to a commercial unit.
    40    2.  "Landlord" includes a landlord, owner of a commercial property and
    41  any other person with a  legal  right  to  pursue  eviction,  possessory
    42  action  or  a  money  judgment for rent, including arrears, owed or that
    43  becomes due during the COVID-19 covered period, as defined in section  1
    44  of chapter 127 of the laws of 2020.
    45    3.  "Tenant"  includes  a  commercial tenant that is a resident of the
    46  state, independently owned and operated, not dominant in its  field  and
    47  employs fifty or fewer persons.
    48    4. "Hardship declaration" means the following statement, or a substan-
    49  tially  equivalent  statement  in  the  language in which the commercial
    50  lease or tenancy agreement was written or negotiated, in 14-point  type,
    51  published  by the office of court administration, whether in physical or
    52  electronic written form:
    53    "NOTICE TO COMMERCIAL TENANT:  If you have lost significant revenue or
    54  had significantly increased necessary costs during the COVID-19  pandem-

        A. 3207                             3

     1  ic,  and  you  sign  and  deliver this hardship declaration form to your
     2  landlord, you cannot be evicted until at least May 1, 2021  for  nonpay-
     3  ment of rent or for holding over after the expiration of your lease. You
     4  may still be evicted for violating your lease by persistently and unrea-
     5  sonably engaging in behavior that substantially infringes on the use and
     6  enjoyment  of  other tenants or occupants or causes a substantial safety
     7  hazard to others.
     8    If your landlord has provided you with this form, your  landlord  must
     9  also  provide you with a mailing address and e-mail address to which you
    10  can return this form. If your landlord has already started  an  eviction
    11  proceeding  against  you,  you can return this form to either your land-
    12  lord, the court, or both at any time. You should keep a copy or  picture
    13  of  the signed form for your records. You will still owe any unpaid rent
    14  to your landlord. You should also keep careful track of  what  you  have
    15  paid and any amount you still owe.

    16           COMMERCIAL TENANT'S DECLARATION OF HARDSHIP DURING THE
    17                              COVID-19 PANDEMIC

    18  I  am  the owner, chief executive officer, president, or similar officer
    19  of (name of business), in which is a commercial tenant  at  (address  of
    20  commercial  unit).  My business is resident in New York state, independ-
    21  ently owned and operated, not dominant in its field, and  employs  fifty
    22  or  fewer persons.   My business is experiencing financial hardship, and
    23  is unable to pay the rent or other financial obligations under the lease
    24  in full or obtain an alternative suitable commercial property because of
    25  one or more of the following:
    26    1. Significant loss of revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    27    2. Significant increase in necessary  expenses  related  to  providing
    28  personal  protective equipment to employees or purchasing and installing
    29  other protective equipment to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 with-
    30  in the business.
    31    3. Moving expenses and difficulty in securing an  alternative  commer-
    32  cial property make it a hardship for the business to relocate to another
    33  location during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    34    To the extent the business has lost revenue or had increased expenses,
    35  any  public  assistance the business has received since the start of the
    36  COVID-19 pandemic does not fully make up  for  the  business's  loss  of
    37  revenue or increased expenses.

    38  I  understand  that the business must comply with all other lawful terms
    39  under its commercial tenancy, lease agreement  or  similar  contract.  I
    40  further  understand  that  lawful  fees,  penalties  or interest for not
    41  having paid rent in full or met other financial obligations as  required
    42  by the commercial tenancy, lease agreement or similar contract may still
    43  be  charged  or  collected  and  may  result in a monetary judgment.   I
    44  further understand that the landlord may be able to seek eviction  after
    45  May  1,  2021,  and that the law may provide certain protections at that
    46  time that are separate from those available through this declaration.

    47  Signed:
    48  Printed name:
    49  Date signed:

        A. 3207                             4

     1  NOTICE: You are signing and submitting this form under penalty  of  law.
     2  That  means  it is against the law to make a statement on this form that
     3  you know is false."
     4    §  2.  No commercial tenant shall be removed from the possession prior
     5  to May 1, 2021, except by an eviction proceeding.
     6    § 3. Pending eviction proceedings. Any eviction proceeding pending  on
     7  the  effective date of this act, including eviction proceedings filed on
     8  or before March 7, 2020, or commenced within thirty days of  the  effec-
     9  tive  date  of  this  act shall be stayed for at least sixty days, or to
    10  such later date that the chief administrative judge shall  determine  is
    11  necessary  to  ensure that courts are prepared to conduct proceedings in
    12  compliance with this act and to give tenants an  opportunity  to  submit
    13  the  hardship  declaration pursuant to this act.  The court in each case
    14  shall promptly issue an order directing such stay and promptly mail  the
    15  respondent  a  copy  of the hardship declaration in English, and, to the
    16  extent practicable, the language in which the commercial lease or tenan-
    17  cy agreement was written or negotiated, if other than English.
    18    § 4. Pre-eviction notices. A landlord shall include a "Hardship Decla-
    19  ration" with every written notice required by the  commercial  lease  or
    20  tenancy  agreement, law or rule to be provided prior to the commencement
    21  of an eviction proceeding, and with every notice of petition or  summons
    22  and  complaint  served  on a tenant.  If the translation of the hardship
    23  declaration in the language in which the  commercial  lease  or  tenancy
    24  agreement  was  written  or negotiated is not available on the office of
    25  court administration's  public  website,  it  shall  be  the  landlord's
    26  responsibility to obtain a suitable translation of the hardship declara-
    27  tion. Such notice shall also include a mailing address, telephone number
    28  and  active email address the tenant can use to contact the landlord and
    29  return the hardship declaration.
    30    § 5. Prohibition on initiation of eviction proceeding.  If there is no
    31  pending eviction proceeding and a tenant provides a hardship declaration
    32  to the landlord or an agent of the landlord, there shall  be  no  initi-
    33  ation of an eviction proceeding against the tenant until at least May 1,
    34  2021,  and in such event any specific time limit for the commencement of
    35  an eviction proceeding shall be tolled until May 1, 2021.
    36    § 6. Required affidavit. 1. No court shall accept for filing any peti-
    37  tion or other filing to commence an eviction proceeding unless the peti-
    38  tioner or plaintiff or an agent of the petitioner or plaintiff files  an
    39  affidavit of service, under penalty of perjury, demonstrating the manner
    40  in  which the petitioner or plaintiff or the petitioner's or plaintiff's
    41  agent served a copy of the  hardship  declaration  in  English  and  the
    42  language  in which the commercial lease or tenancy agreement was written
    43  or negotiated, if other than English, with any written  notice  required
    44  by the commercial lease or tenancy agreement, law or rule to be provided
    45  prior  to  the  commencement of an eviction proceeding, and an affidavit
    46  under penalty of perjury:
    47    a. attesting that at the time of filing,  neither  the  petitioner  or
    48  plaintiff  nor  any  agent of the petitioner or plaintiff has received a
    49  hardship declaration from the respondent, or
    50    b. attesting that the respondent or defendant has returned a  hardship
    51  declaration,  but the respondent or defendant is persistently and unrea-
    52  sonably engaging in behavior that substantially infringes on the use and
    53  enjoyment of other tenants or occupants or causes a  substantial  safety
    54  hazard to others, with a specific description of the behavior alleged.
    55    2.  Upon  accepting  a  petition  or complaint, the attorney, judge or
    56  clerk of the court, as the case may be, shall determine whether  a  copy

        A. 3207                             5

     1  of  the  hardship  declaration  in English and the language in which the
     2  commercial lease or tenancy agreement  was  written  or  negotiated,  if
     3  other  than  English,  is  annexed  to  the served notice of petition or
     4  summons and complaint and, if not, shall ensure that the hardship decla-
     5  ration  is attached to such notice or summons.  At the earliest possible
     6  opportunity, the court shall seek confirmation on the record or in writ-
     7  ing from the respondent or defendant that the  respondent  or  defendant
     8  has received the hardship declaration and that the respondent or defend-
     9  ant has not submitted a hardship declaration to the petitioner or plain-
    10  tiff,  an  agent  of  the  petitioner or plaintiff, or the court. If the
    11  court determines a respondent or defendant has not received  a  hardship
    12  declaration,  then  the court shall stay the proceeding for a reasonable
    13  period of time, which shall be no less than ten  business  days  or  any
    14  longer  period  provided by law, and provide the respondent or defendant
    15  with a copy of the hardship declaration in English and,  to  the  extent
    16  practicable,  the  language  in  which  the  commercial lease or tenancy
    17  agreement was written or negotiated, if other than  English,  to  ensure
    18  the  respondent  or  defendant  received and fully considered whether to
    19  submit the hardship declaration.
    20    § 7. Pending proceedings. In  any  eviction  proceeding  in  which  an
    21  eviction  warrant  or  judgment  of possession or ejectment has not been
    22  issued, including eviction proceedings filed on or before March 7, 2020,
    23  if the tenant provides a  hardship  declaration  to  the  petitioner  or
    24  plaintiff,  the court, or an agent of the petitioner or plaintiff or the
    25  court, the eviction proceeding shall be stayed until  at  least  May  1,
    26  2021.  If  such  hardship  declaration  is provided to the petitioner or
    27  plaintiff or agent, such petitioner or plaintiff or agent shall promptly
    28  file it with the court, advising the court in writing the  index  number
    29  of all relevant cases.
    30    §  8.  Post warrant of eviction.  a. (i) In any eviction proceeding in
    31  which an eviction warrant or judgment of  possession  or  ejectment  has
    32  been  issued  prior  to  the effective date of this act, but has not yet
    33  been executed as of the effective date of this act,  including  eviction
    34  proceedings  filed  on or before March 7, 2020, the court shall stay the
    35  execution of the warrant or judgment at least until the court has held a
    36  status conference with the parties. (ii) In any eviction proceeding,  if
    37  the  tenant  provides a hardship declaration to the petitioner or plain-
    38  tiff, the court, or an agent of  the  petitioner  or  plaintiff  or  the
    39  court,  prior to the execution of the warrant or judgment, the execution
    40  shall be stayed until at least May 1, 2021. If such hardship declaration
    41  is provided to the petitioner or plaintiff or agent of the petitioner or
    42  plaintiff, such petitioner or plaintiff or agent shall promptly file  it
    43  with  the  court,  advising the court in writing the index number of all
    44  relevant cases.
    45    b. In any eviction proceeding in which a warrant or execution has been
    46  issued, including eviction proceedings filed on or before March 7, 2020,
    47  any warrant or execution issued shall not be effective  as  against  the
    48  occupants,  unless,  in  addition  to other requirements under law, such
    49  warrant or execution states:
    50    (i) The tenant has not submitted  the  hardship  declaration  and  the
    51  tenant  was  properly  served  with  a  copy of the hardship declaration
    52  pursuant to this section, listing dates the tenant was served  with  the
    53  hardship declaration by the petitioner or plaintiff and the court; or
    54    (ii)  The  tenant  is ineligible for a stay under this act because the
    55  court has found that the tenant is persistently and unreasonably  engag-
    56  ing in behavior that substantially infringes on the use and enjoyment of

        A. 3207                             6

     1  other  tenants  or  occupants  or  causes a substantial safety hazard to
     2  others, with a specific description of the behavior.
     3    c. No court shall issue a warrant or execution directed to the sheriff
     4  of  the  county  or to any constable or marshal of the city in which the
     5  property, or a portion thereof, is situated, or, if it is  not  situated
     6  in  a  city,  to  any constable of any town in the county, that does not
     7  comply with the requirements of this section.
     8    d. No officer to whom the  warrant  or  execution  is  directed  shall
     9  execute  a  warrant  for  eviction  issued that does not comply with the
    10  requirements of this section.
    11    e. Unless the warrant or execution contains the information  contained
    12  in paragraph (ii) of subdivision b of this section, if any tenant deliv-
    13  ers  the  hardship  declaration  to  the  officer to whom the warrant or
    14  execution is directed, the officer shall  not  execute  the  warrant  or
    15  execution and shall return the hardship form to the court indicating the
    16  appropriate index/case number the form is associated with.
    17    §  9. Sections three, four, five, seven and paragraph (ii) of subdivi-
    18  sion a of section eight of this act shall not apply  if  the  tenant  is
    19  persistently  and  unreasonably  engaging in behavior that substantially
    20  infringes on the use and enjoyment of  other  tenants  or  occupants  or
    21  causes a substantial safety hazard to others, provided:
    22    1.  If an eviction proceeding is pending on the effective date of this
    23  act, but the petitioner or plaintiff has not previously alleged that the
    24  tenant persistently and unreasonably engaged in such behavior, the peti-
    25  tioner or plaintiff shall be required to submit a  new  petition  or  an
    26  amended  complaint  with such allegations and comply with all notice and
    27  service requirements under law.
    28    2. If the court has awarded a judgment against a respondent or defend-
    29  ant prior to the effective date of this act on the basis of  objectiona-
    30  ble  or  nuisance  behavior, the court shall hold a hearing to determine
    31  whether the tenant is continuing to persist in engaging in  unreasonable
    32  behavior  that substantially infringes on the use and enjoyment of other
    33  tenants or occupants or causes a substantial safety hazard to others.
    34    3. For the purposes of this act, a mere  allegation of the behavior by
    35  the petitioner or plaintiff or an agent of the petitioner  or  plaintiff
    36  alleging  such  behavior  shall  not be sufficient evidence to establish
    37  that the tenant has engaged in such behavior.
    38    4. If the petitioner or plaintiff fails to establish that  the  tenant
    39  persistently  and  unreasonably  engaged in such behavior and the tenant
    40  provides or has provided  a  hardship  declaration  to  the  petitioner,
    41  petitioner's  or plaintiff's agent or the court, the court shall stay or
    42  continue to stay any further proceedings until at least May 1, 2021.
    43    5. If the petitioner or plaintiff establishes that the tenant  persis-
    44  tently  and unreasonably engaged in such behavior or the tenant fails to
    45  provide  a  hardship  declaration  to  the  petitioner   or   plaintiff,
    46  petitioner's  or  plaintiff's  agent  or  the  court, the proceeding may
    47  continue pursuant to law.
    48    § 10. Translation of hardship declaration. The office of court  admin-
    49  istration  shall  translate  the  hardship  declaration,  as  defined in
    50  section one of this act, into Spanish and, to  the  extent  practicable,
    51  the  six  most  common languages in the city of New York, after Spanish,
    52  and shall post and maintain such translations and  an  English  language
    53  copy of the hardship declaration on the website of such office beginning
    54  within  fifteen  days  of the effective date of this act.  To the extent
    55  practicable, the office of court administration shall post and  maintain
    56  on  its website translations into such additional languages as the chief

        A. 3207                             7

     1  administrative judge shall deem appropriate to ensure that tenants  have
     2  an  opportunity  to understand and submit hardship declarations pursuant
     3  to this act.
     4    §  11.  Rebuttable  presumption. A hardship declaration shall create a
     5  rebuttable presumption that the tenant is experiencing  financial  hard-
     6  ship,  in any judicial or administrative proceeding that may be brought,
     7  for the purposes of establishing a defense under an executive  order  of
     8  the  governor  or  any  other  local  or  state law, order or regulation
     9  restricting the eviction of a tenant suffering from a financial hardship
    10  during or due to COVID-19 provided that the absence of a hardship decla-
    11  ration shall not create a presumption that a financial hardship  is  not
    12  present.
    13    §  12. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this act
    14  shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to  be  invalid
    15  and  after exhaustion of all further judicial review, the judgment shall
    16  not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder  thereof,  but  shall  be
    17  confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or
    18  part of this act directly involved in the controversy in which the judg-
    19  ment shall have been rendered.
    20    §  13.  This  act shall take effect immediately and sections one, two,
    21  three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten and twelve of  this  act
    22  shall expire May 1, 2021.

    23                                   PART B

    24    Section  1. This Part enacts into law components of legislation relat-
    25  ing to mortgage foreclosure, tax foreclosure, credit discrimination  and
    26  tax  renewal  exemption protections.  Each component is wholly contained
    27  within a Subpart identified as Subparts A through C. The effective  date
    28  for each particular provision contained within such Subpart is set forth
    29  in  the  last  section  of  such  Subpart.  Any provision in any section
    30  contained within a Subpart, including the effective date of the Subpart,
    31  which makes  reference  to  a  section  "of  this  act",  when  used  in
    32  connection  with  that particular component, shall be deemed to mean and
    33  refer to the corresponding section of the Subpart in which it is  found.
    34  Section three of this Part sets forth the general effective date of this
    35  Part.

    36                                  SUBPART A

    37    Section  1.  Application.  This  section  shall apply to any action to
    38  foreclose a mortgage relating to commercial real property, provided  the
    39  owner  or  mortgagor of such property owns ten or fewer commercial units
    40  whether directly or indirectly and is a business that is resident in New
    41  York State, independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field,
    42  and employs fifty or fewer persons. The ten or  fewer  commercial  units
    43  may be in more than one property or building as long as the total aggre-
    44  gate  number  of  ten  units  are  currently occupied by a tenant or are
    45  available for rent.
    46    Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, this act shall not apply to,
    47  and does not affect any mortgage loans made, insured, purchased or secu-
    48  ritized by a corporate governmental agency of the state constituted as a
    49  political subdivision and public benefit corporation, or the rights  and
    50  obligations  of  any  lender,  issuer, servicer or trustee of such obli-
    51  gations.

        A. 3207                             8

     1    § 2. Definitions. For the purposes of this act, "Hardship Declaration"
     2  means the following statement in 14-point type, published by the  office
     3  of court administration, whether in physical or electronic written form:
     4    "NOTICE  TO COMMERCIAL MORTGAGOR: If you have lost significant revenue
     5  or had significantly  increased  necessary  costs  during  the  COVID-19
     6  pandemic,  and  you  sign  and deliver this hardship declaration form to
     7  your mortgage lender or other foreclosing party,  you  cannot  be  fore-
     8  closed on until at least May 1, 2021.
     9    If  your  mortgage lender or other foreclosing party provided you with
    10  this form, the mortgage lender or  other  foreclosing  party  must  also
    11  provide  you  with a mailing address and e-mail address to which you can
    12  return this form. If you are already in foreclosure proceedings, you may
    13  return this form to the court. You should keep a copy or picture of  the
    14  signed  form  for  your  records. You will still owe any unpaid mortgage
    15  payments and lawful fees to your lender. You should  also  keep  careful
    16  track of what you have paid and any amount you still owe.
    17        COMMERCIAL MORTGAGOR'S DECLARATION OF COVID-19-RELATED HARDSHIP
    18    I am the owner, chief executive officer, president, or similar officer
    19  of  (name  of  the  business), which is the mortgagor of the property at
    20  (address of commercial unit).   My business owns,  whether  directly  or
    21  indirectly,  ten  or fewer commercial units.  My business is resident in
    22  New York State, independently owned and operated, not  dominant  in  its
    23  field,  and  employs fifty or fewer persons. My business is experiencing
    24  financial hardship and is unable to pay the mortgage in full because  of
    25  one or more of the following:
    26    1. Significant loss of revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    27    2.  Significant  increase  in  necessary expenses related to providing
    28  personal protective equipment to employees or purchasing and  installing
    29  other protective equipment to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 with-
    30  in the business.
    31    3.  Moving  expenses and difficulty in securing an alternative commer-
    32  cial property make it a hardship for the business to relocate to another
    33  property during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    34    4. One or more of the business's tenants has defaulted  on  a  signif-
    35  icant amount of their rent payments since March 1, 2020.
    36    To  the  extent  that  the  business has lost revenue or had increased
    37  expenses, any public assistance the  business  has  received  since  the
    38  start of the COVID-19 pandemic does not fully make up for the business's
    39  loss of revenue or increased expenses.
    40    I understand that the business must comply with all other lawful terms
    41  under my commercial mortgage agreement. I further understand that lawful
    42  fees,  penalties or interest for not having paid the mortgage in full as
    43  required by the commercial mortgage agreement may still  be  charged  or
    44  collected and may result in a monetary judgment.  I also understand that
    45  the  mortgage lender or other foreclosing party may pursue a foreclosure
    46  action against the business on or after May 1, 2021, if I do  not  fully
    47  repay any missed or partial payments and lawful fees.
    48  Signed:
    49  Printed Name:
    50  Date Signed:
    51  NOTICE:  You  are signing and submitting this form under penalty of law.
    52  That means it is against the law to make a statement on this  form  that
    53  you know is false."
    54    §  3. Any action to foreclose a mortgage pending on the effective date
    55  of this act, including actions filed on or  before  March  7,  2020,  or
    56  commenced  within thirty days of the effective date of this act shall be

        A. 3207                             9

     1  stayed for at least sixty days, or to such later  date  that  the  chief
     2  administrative  judge shall determine is necessary to ensure that courts
     3  are prepared to conduct proceedings in compliance with this act  and  to
     4  give mortgagors an opportunity to submit the hardship declaration pursu-
     5  ant  to  this  act. The court in each case shall promptly issue an order
     6  directing such stay and promptly mail the mortgagor a copy of the  hard-
     7  ship declaration.
     8    § 4. The foreclosing party shall include a "Hardship Declaration" with
     9  every  notice required provided to a mortgagor prior to filing an action
    10  for foreclosure. Such notice shall also include a mailing address, tele-
    11  phone number and active email address the mortgagor can use  to  contact
    12  the foreclosing party and return the hardship declaration.
    13    § 5. If a mortgagor provides a hardship declaration to the foreclosing
    14  party or an agent of the foreclosing party, there shall be no initiation
    15  of  an  action  to  foreclose  a mortgage against the mortgagor until at
    16  least May 1, 2021, and in such event any specific  time  limit  for  the
    17  commencement  of an action to foreclose a mortgage shall be tolled until
    18  May 1, 2021.
    19    § 6. No court shall accept for filing any action to foreclose a  mort-
    20  gage  unless  the foreclosing party or an agent of the foreclosing party
    21  files an affidavit, under penalty of perjury:
    22    (i) of service demonstrating  the  manner  in  which  the  foreclosing
    23  party's  agent  served  a copy of the hardship declaration with required
    24  notices, if any, provided to the mortgagor, and
    25    (ii) attesting that at the time of  filing,  neither  the  foreclosing
    26  party  nor  any  agent  of the foreclosing party has received a hardship
    27  declaration from the mortgagor.
    28    At the earliest possible opportunity, the court shall  seek  confirma-
    29  tion  on the record or in writing that the mortgagor has received a copy
    30  of the hardship declaration and that the mortgagor has not returned  the
    31  hardship  declaration  to the foreclosing party or an agent of the fore-
    32  closing party.  If the court determines a mortgagor has not  received  a
    33  hardship  declaration,  then  the  court shall stay the proceeding for a
    34  reasonable period of time, which shall be no less than ten business days
    35  or any longer period provided by law, to ensure the  mortgagor  received
    36  and fully considered whether to submit the hardship declaration.
    37    § 7. In any action to foreclose a mortgage in which a judgment of sale
    38  has not been issued, including actions filed on or before March 7, 2020,
    39  if  the  mortgagor  provides  a  hardship declaration to the foreclosing
    40  party, the court, or an agent of the foreclosing party or the court, the
    41  proceeding shall be stayed until at least May 1, 2021. If such  hardship
    42  declaration  is  provided to the foreclosing party or agent of the fore-
    43  closing party, such foreclosing party or agent shall  promptly  file  it
    44  with  the  court,  advising the court in writing the index number of all
    45  relevant cases.
    46    § 8. In any action to foreclose a mortgage in which a judgment of sale
    47  has been issued prior to the effective date of this act but has not  yet
    48  been  executed  as  of the effective date of this act, including actions
    49  filed on or before March 7, 2020, the court shall stay the execution  of
    50  the  judgment at least until the court has held a status conference with
    51  the parties. In any action to foreclose a  mortgage,  if  the  mortgagor
    52  provides  a hardship declaration to the foreclosing party, the court, or
    53  an agent of the foreclosing party or the court, prior to  the  execution
    54  of  the  judgment,  the  execution shall be stayed until at least May 1,
    55  2021.  If such hardship declaration is provided to the foreclosing party
    56  or agent of the foreclosing party, such foreclosing party or agent shall

        A. 3207                            10

     1  promptly file it with the court, advising the court in writing the index
     2  number of all relevant cases.
     3    § 9. The office of court administration shall post and maintain a copy
     4  of  the  hardship  declaration  on  the website of such office beginning
     5  within fifteen days of the effective date of this act.
     6    § 10. A hardship declaration shall  create  a  rebuttable  presumption
     7  that  the  mortgagor is suffering financial hardship, in any judicial or
     8  administrative proceeding that may  be  brought,  for  the  purposes  of
     9  establishing  a  defense under an executive order of the governor or any
    10  other local or state law, order or  regulation  restricting  actions  to
    11  foreclose  a  mortgage  against  a  mortgagor suffering from a financial
    12  hardship during or due  to  the  COVID-19  pandemic  provided  that  the
    13  absence  of a hardship declaration shall not create a presumption that a
    14  financial hardship is not present.
    15    § 11. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this  act
    16  shall  be  adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid
    17  and after exhaustion of all further judicial review, the judgment  shall
    18  not  affect,  impair  or  invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be
    19  confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or
    20  part of this act directly involved in the controversy in which the judg-
    21  ment shall have been rendered.
    22    § 12. This act shall take effect immediately and  sections  one,  two,
    23  three,  four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and eleven of this act shall
    24  expire May 1, 2021.

    25                                  SUBPART B

    26    Section 1. Application. This act shall apply to any  action  to  fore-
    27  close on delinquent taxes or sell a tax lien relating to commercial real
    28  property,  provided  the owner or mortgagor of such property owns ten or
    29  fewer commercial units whether directly or indirectly and is a  business
    30  that  is  resident  in New York State, independently owned and operated,
    31  not dominant in its field, and employs fifty or fewer persons.  The  ten
    32  or  fewer  commercial units may be in more than one property or building
    33  as long as the units are currently occupied by a tenant or are available
    34  for rent.
    35    § 2. Definitions. For purposes of this act: 1.  "Tax  lien"  means  an
    36  unpaid  tax, special ad valorem levy, special assessment or other charge
    37  imposed upon real property by or on behalf of a municipal corporation or
    38  special district or other public or private entity which  is  an  encum-
    39  brance  on  real property, whether or not evidenced by a written instru-
    40  ment.
    41    2. "Tax foreclosure and tax lien sale" shall mean any  such  tax  lien
    42  sale  or tax foreclosure pursuant to article 11 of the real property tax
    43  law, or any general, special or local law related to real  property  tax
    44  lien sales or real property tax foreclosures.
    45    3.  "Hardship  Declaration"  means the following statement in 14-point
    46  type, whether in physical or electronic written form:
    47         "COMMERCIAL OWNER DECLARATION OF COVID-19-RELATED HARDSHIP
    48  I am the owner, chief executive officer, president, or  similar  officer
    49  of (name of the business), which is the owner of the commercial property
    50  at  (address).  My business owns, whether directly or indirectly, ten or
    51  fewer commercial units.   My business is resident  in  New  York  State,
    52  independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field, and employs
    53  fifty or fewer persons.  My business is experiencing financial hardship,

        A. 3207                            11

     1  and  is  unable  to  pay its full tax bill because of one or more of the
     2  following:
     3    1. Significant loss of revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
     4    2.  Significant  increase  in  necessary expenses related to providing
     5  personal protective equipment to employees or purchasing and  installing
     6  other protective equipment to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 with-
     7  in the business.
     8    3.  Moving  expenses and difficulty in securing an alternative commer-
     9  cial property make it a hardship for the business to relocate to another
    10  property during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    11    4. One or more of the business's tenants has defaulted  on  a  signif-
    12  icant amount of their rent payments since March 1, 2020.
    13    To  the  extent  that  the  business has lost revenue or had increased
    14  expenses, any public assistance that the business has received since the
    15  start of the COVID-19 pandemic does not fully make up for  the  loss  of
    16  revenue or increased expenses.
    17    I  understand  that  lawful fees, penalties or interest for not having
    18  paid the business's taxes in full may still be charged or collected  and
    19  may  result in a foreclosure action against the business on or after May
    20  1, 2021, if the business does not fully  repay  any  missed  or  partial
    21  payments and fees.
    22  Signed:
    23  Printed Name:
    24  Date Signed:
    25  NOTICE:  You  are signing and submitting this form under penalty of law.
    26  That means it is against the law to make a statement on this  form  that
    27  you know is false."
    28    § 3. 1. A commercial real property owner may submit a "Hardship Decla-
    29  ration"  to  any  village, town, city, school district, county, or other
    30  entity or person which conducts tax foreclosures or tax lien sales.
    31    2. At least thirty days prior to the date on which a  sale  of  a  tax
    32  lien is scheduled to occur, or upon the filing of a petition of foreclo-
    33  sure  of  a  tax  lien,  the enforcing officer or other person or entity
    34  conducting such tax lien sale or tax foreclosure shall notify the  owner
    35  of the affected property of such owner's rights under this act and shall
    36  notify the owner that a copy of the hardship declaration can be accessed
    37  on  the  New York State Department of Tax and Finance's website and also
    38  provide a link to such declaration form. For the purposes of  this  act,
    39  "enforcing  officer"  shall have the same meaning as defined in subdivi-
    40  sion 3 of section 1102 of the real property tax law. The New York  State
    41  Department  of  Tax  and  Finance  shall  publish a copy of the hardship
    42  declaration on its website.
    43    3. The submission of such  a  declaration,  unless  withdrawn  by  the
    44  owner,  shall  act  as  a  temporary stay applicable to all entities and
    45  persons of all such tax lien  sales  and  tax  foreclosure  actions  and
    46  proceedings  against  such  owner  for  such  property  that  have  been
    47  commenced or could have been commenced before May 1, 2021.
    48    4. While such stay is in effect, no other action or  proceeding  shall
    49  be commenced to recover any part of such delinquent taxes.
    50    5.  Any  applicable statutes of limitation for the commencement of any
    51  action or proceeding to sell a tax lien  or  foreclose  a  tax  lien  is
    52  tolled until such stay has expired. The obligation to pay the balance of
    53  such  delinquent taxes is not rendered invalid, released or extinguished
    54  by such stay.
    55    6. A hardship declaration shall create a rebuttable  presumption  that
    56  the  owner is experiencing financial hardship, in any judicial or admin-

        A. 3207                            12

     1  istrative proceeding that may be brought, for the purposes of establish-
     2  ing a defense under an executive order of  the  governor  or  any  other
     3  local  or  state law, order or regulation restricting actions to  sell a
     4  tax  lien  or  foreclose    a tax lien against an owner suffering from a
     5  financial hardship during or due  to  the  COVID-19  pandemic,  provided
     6  that  the  absence of a hardship declaration shall not create a presump-
     7  tion that a financial hardship is not present.
     8    § 4. This act shall take effect immediately and sections one  and  two
     9  and  subdivisions  one, two, three, four and five of section three shall
    10  expire May 1, 2021.

    11                                  SUBPART C

    12    Section 1. Application. 1. This act shall apply to an owner of commer-
    13  cial real property, provided the owner or  mortgagor  of  such  property
    14  owns ten or fewer commercial units whether directly or indirectly and is
    15  a  business  that is resident in New York State, independently owned and
    16  operated, not dominant in its field, and employs fifty or fewer persons.
    17  The ten or fewer commercial units may be in more than  one  property  or
    18  building as long as the total aggregate number of ten units are current-
    19  ly occupied by a tenant or are available for rent.
    20    2.  Hardship declaration. For purposes of this act, "hardship declara-
    21  tion" shall mean the following statement in 14-point  type,  whether  in
    22  physical  or  electronic  written  form, and the department of financial
    23  services shall publish  a  copy  of  the  hardship  declaration  on  its
    24  website:
    25    "NOTICE  TO  COMMERCIAL  OWNER/MORTGAGOR: If you have lost significant
    26  revenue or had  significantly  increased  necessary  costs  due  to  the
    27  COVID-19  pandemic,  and  you sign and deliver this hardship declaration
    28  form to your lending institution, you cannot be discriminated against in
    29  the determination of whether credit should be extended or reported nega-
    30  tively to a credit reporting agency until at least May 1, 2021.
    31    If a lending institution provided you  with  this  form,  the  lending
    32  institution  must  also  provide  you  with a mailing address and e-mail
    33  address to which you can return this form. You should  keep  a  copy  or
    34  picture of the signed form for your records.
    35    COMMERCIAL OWNER/MORTGAGOR DECLARATION OF COVID-19-RELATED HARDSHIP
    36    I am the owner, chief executive officer, president, or similar officer
    37  of  (name of the business), which is the OWNER/MORTGAGOR of the property
    38  at (address of commercial unit).  My business owns, whether directly  or
    39  indirectly,  ten  or fewer commercial units.  My business is resident in
    40  New York State, independently owned and operated, not  dominant  in  its
    41  field,  and  employs fifty or fewer persons. My business is experiencing
    42  financial hardship, and is unable to pay the mortgage in full because of
    43  one or more of the following:
    44    1. Significant loss of revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    45    2. Significant increase in necessary out-of-pocket expenses related to
    46  providing personal protective equipment to employees or  purchasing  and
    47  installing  other  protective  equipment  to prevent the transmission of
    48  COVID-19 within the business.
    49    3. Moving expenses and difficulty in securing an  alternative  commer-
    50  cial property make it a hardship for the business to relocate to another
    51  commercial property during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    52    4.  One or more of my tenants has defaulted on a significant amount of
    53  their rent payments since March 1, 2020.

        A. 3207                            13

     1    To the extent that the business has  lost  revenue  or  had  increased
     2  expenses, any public assistance that the business has received since the
     3  start  of  the  COVID-19 pandemic does not fully make up for the loss of
     4  revenue or increased expenses.
     5  Signed:
     6  Printed Name:
     7  Date Signed:
     8  NOTICE:  You  are signing and submitting this form under penalty of law.
     9  That means it is against the law to make a statement on this  form  that
    10  you know is false."
    11    3.  Discrimination in credit decisions. Notwithstanding any law to the
    12  contrary, lending institutions shall not discriminate  in  the  determi-
    13  nation  of  whether credit should be extended to any owner of commercial
    14  real property as defined in subdivision one of this section because,  as
    15  provided for in this act, such owner has been granted a stay of mortgage
    16  foreclosure  proceedings,  tax  foreclosure  proceedings  or of tax lien
    17  sales, or that an owner of commercial real property as defined in subdi-
    18  vision one of this section is currently in arrears and has filed a hard-
    19  ship declaration with such lender.
    20    4. Prohibition on negative credit reporting. Notwithstanding  any  law
    21  to  the contrary, as provided for in this act, the granting of a stay of
    22  mortgage foreclosure proceedings, tax  foreclosure  proceedings  or  tax
    23  lien  sales,  or that an owner of commercial real property as defined in
    24  subdivision one of this section is currently in arrears and has filed  a
    25  hardship  declaration with their lender shall not be negatively reported
    26  to any credit reporting agency.
    27    § 2. This act take effect immediately and shall expire May 1, 2021.
    28    § 2. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi-
    29  sion, section, item, subpart or part of this act shall  be  adjudged  by
    30  any  court  of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall
    31  not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof,  but  shall  be
    32  confined  in  its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi-
    33  sion, section, item, subpart or part thereof directly  involved  in  the
    34  controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered. It is here-
    35  by declared to be the intent of the legislature that this act would have
    36  been enacted even if such invalid provisions had not been included here-
    37  in.
    38    §  3.  This  act shall take effect immediately provided, however, that
    39  the applicable effective date of Subparts A through C of this act  shall
    40  be as specifically set forth in the last section of such Subparts.
    41    § 4. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi-
    42  sion,  section  or  part  of  this act shall be adjudged by any court of
    43  competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment  shall  not  affect,
    44  impair,  or  invalidate  the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in
    45  its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph,  subdivision,  section
    46  or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judg-
    47  ment shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of
    48  the  legislature  that  this  act  would  have been enacted even if such
    49  invalid provisions had not been included herein.
    50    § 5. This act shall take effect immediately  provided,  however,  that
    51  the  applicable effective date of Parts A through B of this act shall be
    52  as specifically set forth in the last section of such Parts.
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