Eviction Prevention Frequently Asked Questions

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

I have been unable to pay rent during the pandemic. Is there an eviction prevention program that covers overdue rent?

Yes. The New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) helps low and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability by providing emergency back rent and utilities payments, as well as temporary rental assistance.

Applying to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program will usually prevent an eviction case from being filed against you.

To learn more, including eligibility requirements, visit the ERAP website. To apply, visit the ERAP application page.

What is a Hardship Declaration form, and how do I submit one?

Most tenants who are experiencing financial challenges due to COVID-19 can prevent eviction until at least August 31, 2021 if they sign and deliver a Hardship Declaration form to their landlord or local Housing Court. You can also submit the Hardship Declaration electronically through the Eviction Free NY online form.

You can submit a Hardship Declaration if, due to COVID-19, you have faced one or more of the following challenges:

  • You have lost significant household income

  • You have increased expenses related to health impacts or essential work

  • Childcare or other family care expenses during the pandemic have negatively affected your finances

  • You have been unable to obtain meaningful employment because of circumstances relating to COVID-19

  • You cannot afford to move or would have difficulty securing alternative housing

  • Vacating and moving would pose a significant health risk to you or a member of your household due to age (over 65 years old), disability status, or an underlying medical condition.

A Hardship Declaration protects you, whether or not a warrant of eviction was issued against you. You may even provide the Hardship Declaration to the officer charged with evicting you. A Hardship Declaration protects from eviction for most reasons, including for not paying rent. A Hardship Declaration does not protect you from eviction for causing an ongoing nuisance condition to other tenants or for posing a substantial danger to the safety of others.

What laws protecting me from eviction?

  • Under a State law called the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act, you can prevent your landlord from evicting you if you have suffered a hardship during the pandemic by submitting a Hardship Declaration form. You would then be protected from eviction until at least August 31, 2021. Tenants who are protected under this law are still responsible for all required rent, fees, penalties, or interest under their lease.

  • The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order that protects certain tenants from eviction through June 30, 2021 does not currently apply in NYC because our state laws provide the same or greater protections against eviction.

  • The NYS COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act expires on August 31, 2021, but key protections under a different law, the NYS Tenant Safe Harbor Act, may continue even after that date. If you have questions about whether the Tenant Safe Harbor Act may apply to you or about your rights after August 31, 2021, contact the City's Tenant Helpline by calling 311 and saying, "Tenant Helpline."

Do the eviction protections mean I don't have to pay rent?

No. You are still responsible for paying your rent. Even if you are staying elsewhere, your tenancy does not change– your apartment remains your primary residence, and you are still obligated to pay rent during quarantine or any time spent in a medical facility.

Can my landlord legally evict me?

If you are a tenant with a lease or you have been living in your home for at least 30 days, your landlord can only evict you with written permission from a court.

In court, the judge will decide whether or not to grant the landlord's request to evict you. If you are a tenant facing an eviction case in Housing Court, you are eligible for free legal services (see below for more information on how to access Right-to-Counsel). If the judge allows the eviction to proceed, you still cannot be evicted until you receive a formal notice from a New York City Marshal.

It is illegal for a landlord, super, or someone else who works for the landlord to lock you out of your apartment or turn off essential utilities without a court-ordered eviction. If this happens to you, call 911 or your local police precinct. In these cases, NYC Housing Court is open to restore you to your apartment (or if you need emergency repairs or critical services like heat or hot water). You can start these cases electronically or over the phone, and you can appear in court without coming to a court building.

For more information, visit the NY Courtswebsite or call 833-503-0447 (toll-free). You can also call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline for assistance navigating these critical issues.

How can I access a lawyer or other individualized assistance?

If an eviction case is pending against you: You may be eligible to receive free legal services through HRA's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ) as part of the City's Right-to-Counsel (RTC) law.  RTC legal services are available to tenants citywide, regardless of zip code, in NYC Housing Court or in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) administrative proceedings. Tenants with eviction proceedings in court can receive free legal services including legal representation in court or advice and consultation. For more information and to find out if you are eligible, call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline.

My landlord may file an eviction case against me. What can I do?

If you think your landlord may file an eviction case against you: You can call 311 and ask for the City's Tenant Helpline or fill out the Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants' Contact Us form for free and confidential assistance in your preferred language. The Tenant Helpline assists residential renters with a range of tenancy-related issues, including applying to benefits, conditions and repairs concerns, and tenant harassment. All NYC residential renters are eligible for Tenant Helpline support, regardless of income level, immigration status, or ZIP code.

You can also use the Tenant Resource Portal to learn more about nonpayment and holdover evictions and the rights and protections you have in each scenario. Lastly, the City's Eviction Prevention Brochure offers information on tenant rights and eviction prevention information.

For more information about how these eviction protections might apply to you, contact the City's Tenant Helpline by calling 311 and saying, "Tenant Helpline."