Hudson Ave. Hous. Assocs. v. Howard, 2022-22078

CourtNew York City Court
Writing for the CourtGary C. Hobbs, J.
Decision Date18 March 2022
PartiesHudson Avenue Housing Associates, LLC, Petitioner, v. Rachael Howard, Respondent
Docket Number2022-22078,Index LT-0131-21

Hudson Avenue Housing Associates, LLC, Petitioner,
v.

Rachael Howard, Respondent

No. 2022-22078

Index No. LT-0131-21

City Court of Glens Falls, Warren County

March 18, 2022


Bartlett, Pontiff, Stewart & Rhodes, P.C., John D. Wright, Esq., of counsel, for the Petitioner

Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Yoana Kostadinova, Esq., of counsel, for the Respondent

Gary C. Hobbs, J.

The issue in this case is whether Part BB, Subpart A, §8 of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2021, as modified by L. 2021, c. 417, otherwise known as the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) stays a holdover proceeding while an emergency rental assistance program application is pending, even where the Landlord-Petitioner is not seeking payment of rental arrears or reasonable use and occupancy for the subject property. For the reasons set forth below, this Court finds that an automatic stay does apply in holdover proceedings.

Background Facts

The Petitioner, Hudson Avenue Housing Associates, LLC, is the owner of 22 Columbia Avenue, Glens Falls, New York. The Respondent, Rachael Howard, is a tenant at apartment D in the subject property. On March 12, 2021, the Petitioner commenced a summary proceeding action seeking to evict the Respondent from the subject property on the grounds that the Respondent was holding over after service of a 90-day Notice terminating her tenancy [March 4, 2021, Verified Petition ¶s 3-6]. The Petitioner's Verified Petition sought a judgment of possession, warrant of eviction, together with a "judgment against the respondents for rent/late fees/use and occupancy charges in arrears as of March 4, 2021, in the amount of $2, 901.00" [March 4, 2021, Verified Petition ¶7]. On June 5, 2021, the Respondent filed an application of Emergency Rental Assistance with the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. The Respondent also filed her Hardship Declaration, which resulted in a stay of the summary proceeding to August 31, 2021, pursuant to Chapter 381 of the Laws of 2020, the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. The stay was thereafter extended to January 15, 2022, by operation of Chapter 417 of the Laws of 2021 ["Act" (effective September 2, 2021), which reinstated many COVID-19 related protections for tenants in residential and commercial proceedings following the United States Supreme Court decision granting injunctive relief in Chrysafis v. Marks, 141 S.Ct. 2482 (2021). As of the date of this Decision and Order, the Respondent's ERAP application remains "pending." Thus, the Respondent's ERAP application has been "pending" for more than eight (8) months.

On January 19, 2022, the parties appeared in this Court. The Respondent asserted that, because there is a pending ERAP application, the Petitioner's summary proceeding was stayed pending final determination of the Respondent's ERAP application. The Petitioner asserted that the matter is a holdover proceeding, and the Petitioner is not seeking rental arrears. Respondent's counsel asserted that, pursuant to paragraph 7 of the Petition, the Petitioner is seeking a money judgment in the amount of $2901.00 for rental arrears or use and occupancy. The Petitioner's counsel responded that the Petitioner was waiving, on the Record, any claim to rental arrears or use and occupancy.

By letter motion dated January 20, 2022, the Petitioner asserted that the provisions of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program under Part BB, Subpart A, § 8 of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2021, as modified by L. 2021, c. 417, only requires a stay of a summary proceeding where the Respondent would be eligible for coverage und the ERAP program. The Petitioner again asserted that it had withdrawn any request for payment of rent, use and occupancy or utilities, so the Respondent would not be eligible for coverage under the ERAP Act. By letter dated January 21, 2022, the Respondent asserted that the Petition must be stayed pursuant to Park E.L.P. v. Foster, 2021 NY Slip Op. 21347 [Civ. Ct. Dec. 10, 2021] and pursuant to the legislative intent of the ERAP Act. On January 27, 2022, the Petitioner filed an Amended Petition, which removed any claim to rental arrears or use and occupancy.

By Decision and Order dated February 17, 2022, this Court held that plain language of Subpart A, § 8 of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2021, as modified by L. 2021, c. 417, (the ERAP Act) clearly indicates that any pending ERAP application stays both non-payment and holdover proceedings until an eligibility determination is made. See, Sea Park E. L.P. v Foster, 74 Misc.3d 213, 216 [Civ. Ct. 2021]. This Court further held that, upon written application to this Court and upon good cause shown, the Petitioner is entitled to a due process hearing to determine whether the Respondent is engaging in conduct to frustrate, delay, or otherwise impede a final determination of her ERAP application. This case was then ordered stayed pending final determination of the Respondent's ERAP application and/or pending a motion by the Petitioner seeking a due process hearing.

By Motion dated March 1, 2022, the Petitioner moved this Court for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR § 3212, and an order lifting the stay of this action pursuant to Part BB, Subpart A, § 8 of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2021, as modified by L. 2021, c. 417, (the ERAP Act). The Petitioner's...

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