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May 2020

Weekly Report for May 29, 2020

5 Regions in NYS Reopen in Phase 2 – Real Estate Guidance
The NYS Empire State Development agency has released guidance for real estate when a region achieves Phase 2 status. Governor Cuomo announced 5 Regions have achieved Phase 2 status as of Friday, including the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, Central New York and Finger Lakes Regions. The guidance for real estate activities in Phase 2 regions can be found HERE.  The proprietor/owner of the real estate business, or another party as may be designated by the proprietor/owner (in either case, “the Responsible Parties”) shall be responsible for meeting the standards and affirming the Detailed Guidelines. Please note that real estate offices will need to have a business safety plan.  The information regarding the plan can be found HERE.

NYS launches new small business loan program
New York State opened pre-applications for the New York Forward Loan Fund. Loans from this fund are available to small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords in New York State that did not receive a loan from either the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for COVID-19 in 2020. New York Forward loans must be fully repaid over a 5-year term with fixed annual interest rates of 3 percent for small businesses and landlords. View more details, including eligibility requirements and to apply here.

State Legislature reconvenes to pass Covid-related bills
The Legislature gaveled back into session Wednesday and Thursday for the first time since April 3 to pass a package of bills addressing the Covid pandemic. Committee meetings and voting were done remotely, and it is unclear which of these bills have more than a 2-way agreement between the Senate and Assembly as the Governor has not commented yet. Below is a summary of several of the real estate related bills approved by the legislature.

  • S.8419/A.10522 (Senator Kavanagh/Assemblyman Cymbrowitz) – Housing Committee Chairs

Passed Assembly: 132-11; Passed Senate: 60-1
This bill, referred to as the Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020, establishes a $100 million interim residential rental assistance voucher program to provide payments to landlords on behalf of tenants facing a rent burden due to the loss of income from Covid-19. The program applies to the period from April 1 through July 31, 2020. Read more here.

  • S.8192-B/A.10290-B (Senator Hoylman/Assemblyman Dinowitz) – Judiciary Committee Chairs

Passed Assembly: 93-50; Passed Senate: 39-23
Referred to as the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, this bill prohibits evictions or judgement of possession against residential tenants impacted by Covid-19 until all public and private emergency restrictions are lifted by the governor. The bill still allows money judgements. The approved version does not contain previous text that would have extended the eviction moratorium to six months after the expiration of the state of emergency. Read more here.

  • S.8243-C/A.10351-B (Senator Kavanaugh/Assemblywoman Rozic)

Passed Assembly: 111-33; Passed Senate: 61-0
This bill requires New York state-chartered banks and state-regulated mortgage servicers to grant 180 days of mortgage payment forbearance (plus an additional 180 day extension, if needed) to residential mortgagors who, during the NYS On PAUSE period, are in arrears or on a trial plan or who have applied for loss mitigation and demonstrate financial hardship. Read more here.


Weekly Report for May 22, 2020

NYSAR President Jennifer Stevenson speaks to Lt. Governor Hochul on statewide limited in-person showings
On May 20, NYSAR President Jennifer Stevenson and NYSAR Leadership held a remote meeting with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul to request that the state move forward immediately with limited in-person showings that follow strict health and safety protocols. As a next step, Lt. Governor Hochul will move the request to the Cuomo Administration for consideration and asked that NYSAR staff work with the administration on the issue. “I am grateful to the Cuomo Administration, and particularly Lieutenant Governor Hochul, for speaking directly to NYSAR leadership on re-starting more comprehensive real estate activity as soon as possible.  REALTORS® know that in-person showings can be done safely and that New Yorkers need a vibrant housing economy to return as soon and as safely as possible,” President Stevenson remarked.

State Senate expected to reconvene next week
The State Senate is expected to reconvene virtually for session next week to consider passage of Covid-related legislation, including the possibility of addressing housing issues. An agenda has not been released yet as leaders in the Senate and Assembly work on agreements on what bills to introduce. NYSAR will continue to provide legislative updates when they become available.

NAR highlights new member programs and MLS policy change
Last week’s NAR virtual 2020 Legislative Meetings highlighted new member programs including NAR’s new Right Tools, Right Now program, providing free or discounted programs and services to members and the Members Telehealth benefit, available until May 31: two free months of telemedicine. The NAR Board of Directors also voted to establish the right of MLS participants to receive a data feed of their own listing information. Read more here.


Weekly Report for May 15, 2020

New York City Council approves COVID-19 tenant relief bills
On Wednesday, the New York City Council passed several bills providing new protections for commercial and residential tenants impacted by COVID-19. The new measures temporarily prohibit the enforcement of personal liability provisions in commercial leases or rental agreements involving a COVID-19 impacted tenant, and prohibits harassment of residential and commercial tenants based on their status as a COVID-19 impacted individuals or businesses punishable by fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 on residential landlords and $10,000 to $50,000 for commercial landlords.

State Legislature holds first-ever remote hearing on COVID-19
The State Legislature held its first-ever remote hearing on Wednesday, which focused on evaluating the federal government response to COVID-19 and its impact on small businesses in New York. The joint legislative hearing was led by small business committee chairs Senator Anna Kaplan of Long Island and Assemblymember Al Stirpe of Central New York. The full hearing can be viewed here. The next joint legislative hearing will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on minority communities and is scheduled for May 18 at 10 a.m.

CFPB unveils housing assistance website at NAR Virtual Meetings
On Tuesday during the 2020 REALTORS® Virtual Legislative Meetings, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger unveiled a new website providing a “one-stop-shop” for federal coronavirus-related mortgage and housing relief options. REALTORS® called for the creation of the resource last week. For additional information and resources, visit the CFPB mortgage and housing assistance website here.


 Weekly Report for May 8, 2020

NYSAR submits letter to Governor Cuomo with recommendations on re-opening of real estate
On May 6, NYSAR President Jennifer Stevenson submitted a letter to Governor Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Hochul, Empire State Development Corporation, the State Legislature, and County Executives across the state providing recommendations on the re-opening of real estate in New York. The letter states that most states across the nation, including all of the six adjoining coalition states, allow at least some form of limited in-person showings. NYSAR believes New York State can join these states and allow limited in-person contact. You can read the full letter of recommendation here.

Governor Cuomo extends eviction moratorium until August 20
Governor Cuomo announced Thursday that he will extend the statewide moratorium on residential and commercial evictions until August 20, 2020, and said the state will work with landlords and banks to help provide relief to tenants. He added that late payment fees for missed rent payments during the moratorium are banned and that security deposits will be allowed for payment (and tenants can repay the deposit over time). Read his Executive Order here.

Senate and Assembly to hold COVID-19 response virtual hearings
The Senate and Assembly have scheduled their joint legislative hearing on the federal response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses in New York State for Wednesday, May 13, 2020. The other planned hearing, on the impact on minority communities in New York, remains to be scheduled.

New York requests $60 billion in federal aid
Governor Cuomo announced that New York State is requesting $60 billion in unrestricted federal aid to be included in the fifth round of federal coronavirus aid packages. The funding request is part of a $500 billion aid proposal issued by the National Governors Association. New York officials backed up the request with a new financial outlook that anticipates a $13.3 billion revenue loss this year and $61 billion over the next four years. Read more here. Congress appears to still be divided on what will be included in the next stimulus package, however.


Weekly Report for May 1, 2020

NYSAR joins letter urging county clerks to remain open
On Thursday, NYSAR sent a letter to New York’s Chief Administrative Judge as part of a coalition of organizations and stakeholders in commercial and residential real estate closings urging him to permit in-person filing of documents associated with the transfer and financing of real property in accordance with appropriate social distancing measures. The role of a county clerk is critical to the real estate transaction, however many transfers have not been able to close due to the inability to physically accept and record various filings. You can read the full letter here.

Department of State adopts new fair housing regulations and amends advertising regulations
The Department of State recently approved and adopted new fair housing regulations, effective June 20, 2020, which requires new fair housing notice to be posted in every broker’s office, every licensee to provide a new fair housing disclosure form, and requires the video and audio recording of every fair housing continuing education class. The amendment to the advertising regulation, effective November 20, 2020, requires every broker and associated licensee that advertises the exclusive listing of another broker to clearly and conspicuously display the name of the listing broker.

  • A copy of the Fair Housing CE Recording regulation can be found here.
  • A copy of the Fair Housing Disclosure Form can be found here.
  • A copy of the Fair Housing Notice for posting can be found here.
  • A copy of the amended advertising regulation can be found here.

NYSAR submits public comment on NYC eviction bill
Last week, the New York City Council introduced a package of bills aimed at assisting tenants and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. On Tuesday, NYSAR submitted written public comment on a City Council bill, Intro. No 1912, which would pause evictions and debt collections until April 2021 by prohibiting New York City marshals and sheriffs from taking property or executing money judgments. NYSAR believes the bill is excessive and may not be legally sound. You can read NYSAR’s testimony here.