Fed. Nat'l Mortg. Ass'n v. Godette, 1198-18

CourtNew York City Court
Writing for the CourtNichelle A. Johnson, J.
Citation2022 NY Slip Op 22151
PartiesFederal National Mortgage Association, Petitioner, v. Wallace Godette, LOIS GODETTE A/KA/ LOIS C. GODETTE A/K/A LOIS C. ADAMS, LISA GODETTE, ESTELLA RANDALL, "JOHN DOE" AND "JANE DOE" ALL ROOMS, UNIT #3 15 BEEKMAN AVENUE MOUNT VERNON, NEW YORK 10553, Respondents.
Docket Number1198-18
Decision Date16 May 2022

2022 NY Slip Op 22151

Federal National Mortgage Association, Petitioner,
v.

Wallace Godette, LOIS GODETTE A/KA/ LOIS C. GODETTE A/K/A LOIS C. ADAMS, LISA GODETTE, ESTELLA RANDALL, "JOHN DOE" AND "JANE DOE" ALL ROOMS, UNIT #3 15 BEEKMAN AVENUE MOUNT VERNON, NEW YORK 10553, Respondents.

Docket No. 1198-18

City Court of Mount Vernon

May 16, 2022


David A. Gallo, Esq. Attorney for Petitioner

Earl M. Williams, Esq. Attorney for Respondent Lisa Godette

Nichelle A. Johnson, J.

Petitioner commenced this post-foreclosure holdover proceeding in May 2018 seeking to recover the residential premises.

Petitioner now moves for issuance of a Warrant of Eviction.

Respondent Lisa Godette opposes the motion.

On May 14, 2019, Respondents Lois Godette and Lisa Godette entered into a Stipulation of Settlement wherein they agreed to vacate the premises by July 13, 2019. Respondents failed to vacate. A Warrant of Eviction issued on July 24, 2019. On September 3, 2019, respondents filed an Order to Show Cause seeking to vacate the warrant. On September 27, 2019, the court denied the Order to Show Cause and extended the stay on the execution of the warrant until November 8, 2019. On November 21, 2019, the Warrant of Eviction was re-issued. A stipulation of extension was filed thereby extending the Warrant of Eviction until December 23, 2019. Respondents filed an Order to Show Cause in Supreme Court seeking a stay of the Warrant of Eviction. By Decision and Order (J. Lefkowitz) dated January 10, 2020, the Order to Show Cause was denied.

The Petitioner states that due to the Covid-19 health crisis the eviction was not completed.

In opposition to the motion, Respondent Godette argues that there is a Supreme Court matter pending to determine the true owner of the property. Counsel, however, has not provided this court with any documentation to support this claim and significantly, has not provided any order from the court staying the landlord tenant proceeding while the "court matter is pending". Counsel further argues that the respondent has suffered a financial hardship during the Covid-19 period and has filed for ERAP assistance. Accordingly, the respondent argues that the Tenant Safe Harbor Act prohibits a court from issuing a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession against a residential tenant or lawful occupant that has suffered a financial hardship during the COVID-19 covered period.

Respondent has raised the affirmative defense of financial hardship under the Tenant Safe Harbor Act 2020. The law provides:

No court shall issue a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession against a residential tenant or other lawful occupant that has suffered a financial hardship during the COVID-19 period (emphasis added)

The legislation prohibits courts from evicting tenants who experienced financial hardship for nonpayment of rent that accrued or became due during the COVID-19 period, March 7, 2020, through January 15, 2022. Further, under the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) (Part BB, Subpart A, section 8 of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2021, as modified by L. 2021, c 417), tenants may apply for rental assistance to satisfy their rental arrears. Once a tenant files an application, an automatic stay is imposed on nonpayment and holdover evictions pending the approval/rejection of the ERAP application. Recently, however, "numerous courts of concurrent jurisdiction have ruled on whether the automatic stay imposed by the filing of an ERAP application can be lifted by the court, and, if so under what circumstances" (Papandrea-Zavaglia v Hernandez-Arroyaye, 2022 NY Slip Op 22109; 2022 NY Misc. LEXIS 1291 [Civ Ct. Kings Co. 2022]). When deciding whether to vacate the stay, courts have been looking at the regulatory...

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