The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the New York City economy. Many businesses have fallen behind on rent, and some may have to deal with the possibility of an eviction in the coming month.
Many of our past videos have discussed the particulars of commercial leases including personal guarantees, force majeure clauses, and changes to the law that may affect commercial tenants. But in today’s blog post, we want to share some important information for tenants who are concerned they may face the prospect of an eviction in the coming months.
Currently, you can be served rent demands, but your landlord cannot move forward with eviction proceedings until September 4th. This means they cannot have you removed from the space at this moment, but your time may be limited. However, it is important to keep in mind that you cannot be evicted without a valid court order and when the September 4 date comes, you can expect courts to be backed up for months and significant delays are likely.
Landlords will be prohibited from enforcing personal guarantees if their tenants default between March 7th and September 30th of this year. This specifically covers any business that was mandated by law to close or had service limitations. Again, this does not protect the business in any way, but it does protect your individual assets in the event that you personally guaranteed a commercial lease obligation.
It is important to remember that landlords must follow specific steps in order to evict a commercial tenant and any misstep can lead to delays or could potentially create new causes of action. This is especially notable now as the laws are quickly changing. If you are facing an eviction there may be defenses available and you should talk to an attorney to ensure that your landlord is acting in accordance with the law.
At Bergstein Flynn & Knowlton PLLC, we have extensive experience in all areas of real estate law, including guiding tenants through the process of commercial lease negotiation and strategy. We can also help you understand what you need to do now to ensure the future viability of your business when the eviction moratorium is lifted. If you have any questions about commercial evictions or other topics of interest, we encourage you to reach out to our team today.