March 2020

Weekly Report for March 27, 2020

NYSAR applauds Gov. Cuomo’s request for federal funds to support REALTORS®
On March 24, Governor Andrew Cuomo for requesting federal funds to support independent contractors whose businesses have been shut down during the current COVID-19 related State of Emergency. NYSAR applauds Governor Cuomo for requesting federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance for independent contractors like REALTORS®. “Independent contractors, including the state’s nearly 60,000 REALTORS®, have had their ability to provide for their families curtailed as part of the broad effort to control and end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NYSAR President Jennifer Stevenson. “By tapping this federal resource, New York State is helping hard-working independent contractors to survive in these difficult times so that they can be ready to assist the public when we emerge from this health emergency.” Read more.

NYSAR continues to meet with state lawmakers as the budget deadline approaches
Amid COVID-19, state lawmakers are still tasked with passing a state budget by April 1 for it to be considered on-time. New York’s state budget director estimated that state revenues could fall by as much as $15 billion, which is $8 billion more than the Comptroller’s worst-case-scenario estimate from last week. NYSAR staff continues to conduct phone meetings with state lawmakers to express its opposition to good cause eviction and proposed changes to New York’s independent contractor status.

U.S. Senate passes COVID-19 relief package
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber would adjourn until April 20 after it passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package late Wednesday night. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would like to see other priorities addressed in the relief package, however, it’s reported that the House plans to pass the $2 trillion bill by voice vote on Friday morning. As the language in the extensive bill continues to remain open to possible changes, NAR will provide resources on what is included in the bill once it is finalized.

Weekly Report for March 20, 2020

NYSAR Lobby Day cancelled due to COVID-19
Due to our dedication to the health and safety of our members, NYSAR has decided to cancel its annual Lobby Day, which was scheduled for Tuesday, May 5. As a result, all related RPAC activities that were scheduled to be held on Monday, May 4 have also been canceled. NYSAR continues to be engaged with state lawmakers on our legislative matters. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

NAR to deliver virtual solutions for 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo
NAR announced that it will not be holding in-person meetings during the 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo from May 11-16 in Washington, D.C. due to health and gathering restrictions limiting the spread of COVID-19. NAR will provide virtual options to ensure the full governance of its organization can continue. Read more.

NYS, HUD, Fannie, and Freddie suspend foreclosures and evictions
New York’s Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Malks issued a memo stating that eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders will be suspended statewide, until further notice. The judge’s rule will apply to all evictions, including commercial evictions. Foreclosures are considered nonessential functions and will, therefore, be suspended as well, according to their spokesperson. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that HUD is enacting an “immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages” for the next 60 days. Additionally, the FHFA announced that it is directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to also suspend foreclosures and evictions for “at least 60 days.”

Governor Cuomo signs bill to guarantee paid leave when under mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to COVID-19
Governor Cuomo signed a law that makes all private and public sector employees eligible for sick leave and wage replacement during a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Employees that work for small-sized employers, which includes

  • Employees of businesses with 10 or fewer employees with a net income of less than $1 million would receive unpaid sick leave and immediately become eligible for Paid Family Leave and Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) benefits.
  • Those working for medium-sized employers, which includes employers with 10 or fewer employees that have a net income of greater than $1 million and employers with between 11 and 99 employees, would receive at least five days of paid sick leave, followed by eligibility for Paid Family Leave and TDI benefits.
  • Those working for employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employees, would receive a minimum of 14 days of paid sick leave.

The new law also allows these employees to collect Paid Family Leave benefits, supplemented by increased TDI benefits to make their weekly wages whole, for those who earn up to a maximum of $150,000 annually. It also expands Paid Family Leave benefits to cover an employee or their dependent child if they are under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to coronavirus.

Weekly Report for March 13, 2020

NYSAR meets with Senator Kaminsky on environmental impact bills
NYSAR staff met with State Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, on Tuesday to discuss proposals that would limit residential and commercial development and property rights. The first proposal (A.8123/S.6484) would curtail development and impose a stricter environmental review process for subdivisions of private land within the Adirondack Park region. The other proposal (Part TT of A.9508/S.7508), which was included in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal, would expand the state DEC’s oversight and regulation of freshwater wetlands. NYSAR expressed opposition to both proposals and will be monitoring these issues.

NYSAR meets with City Councilman on commercial rent control proposal
On Wednesday, NYSAR staff met with New York City Councilman Stephen Levin of Brooklyn who has introduced legislation (Intro. 1796) that would impose a rent regulation system on commercial property in the city of New York. We had a productive discussion and expressed serious concerns with the proposal. NYSAR will continue to provide updates on this issue as they arise.

New York lawmakers propose eviction and foreclosure moratorium during COVID-19 outbreak
State Senators Brad Hoylman and Brian Kavanagh introduced a bill on Thursday that would prohibit tenant evictions and allow courts to stay a foreclosure proceeding during a state disaster emergency. New York City Mayor de Blasio expressed similar concerns and placed a moratorium on evictions in NYCHA housing. Read more here. Find up-to-date information on COVID-19 on the New York State Health Department’s website here.

Weekly Report for March 6, 2020

NYSAR meets with Assembly on NYC flip tax bill
On Thursday, NYSAR staff met Assembly Ways and Means staff to express concerns and opposition to legislation (A.5375-A/S.3060-E) that would impose a 15- to 20-percent real estate transfer tax or “flip” tax on residential properties one-to-five units within New York City if the property is sold within two years of original purchase. Click here to read NYSAR’s memo in opposition to the legislation.

Gov. Cuomo signs into law $40 million coronavirus emergency response measures
On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo signed into law a $40 million emergency management authorization for New York’s coronavirus response. The appropriation allows the state to hire additional staff and procure equipment and any other resources necessary to respond to the evolving situation. New York State has created a website to track cases of the virus available to the public here.

Assembly hosts Rent Control forum on Long Island, March 12
The Assembly Minority Conference is sponsoring a forum entitled, “New York City Rent Regulation Comes to Long Island – What Are the Implications?” on March 12 at 1 p.m. at the Long Island Builders Institute, 1757-8 Veterans Memorial Highway, Islandia. NYSAR staff will be attending and all REALTORS® are invited.