The Tenant Safe Harbor Act, which Governor Andrew M. Cuomo incorporated into law June 30, expanded the pandemic protection already put in place by the governor and made it difficult for landlords to obtain evacuation warrants regardless of who their tenants are could. Tenants' rights were already underpinned by a law passed in the previous year, the Law on Housing Stability and Tenant Protection.
Judith Goldiner, the lawyer in charge of civil law reforms at the Legal Aid Society, said the laws would help many people suffering in New York, referring to a recent survey that found 58 percent of black renters 57 percent of Hispanic or Latin American renters and 37 percent of white renters in New York weren't sure they could pay their October rent.
"Every time you have a law there will be some bad people taking advantage of it, but there are so many thousands – maybe millions in New York State – that the Safe Harbor Act will help," she said, emphasizing Protection was only extended until January 1st.
But in a summer like no other, cases of wealthy squatters caught the public eye. In June, Air Mail reported that a Hamptons realtor, Jonathan Davis, had ransacked a property he had leased and refused to leave it. In a lawsuit, Mr Davis's landlords, Giancarlo Bonagura and Paula Rosado, accused him of exceeding his lease, believing that the tenant laws passed during the pandemic would leave them no legal recourse.
Mr. Davis did not respond to emails and voicemail messages asking for comment. A spokeswoman for his real estate company Nest Seekers declined to comment.
In August, the New York Post reported that a Manhattan developer and former Tunnel nightclub owner Marco Ricotta had stopped renting his vacation home in Westhampton. Mr Killoran, who represented Mr Ricotta's landlord, said the case was settled this week. Mr Ricotta did not respond to calls or text messages for comment.