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Attorney General’s Office issues guidance on evictions for local law enforcement

May 12, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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As New York starts to go into its third month of stay-at-home orders with huge unemployment numbers, Attorney General Letitia James provided guidance to local law enforcement departments throughout the state on how to protect the public from unlawful evictions.

“As the coronavirus rages on, many individuals are experiencing unprecedented financial instability, and it is important for everyone to understand the protections in place to guard against unlawful evictions at such a vulnerable time,” said Attorney General James. “I will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure that no New Yorker is illegally removed from their home during this pandemic.”

The attorney general explained that there are questions surrounding the process since the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 implemented new protections for tenants.

For instance, a new provision makes it a Class-A misdemeanor to evict a person without a court order. The new law, the attorney general explained, empowers law enforcement to intervene when they witness a person being evicted without a court order.

The AG’s Office highlighted a series of actions that can make an eviction unlawful including using or threatening to use force, interrupting or discontinuing essential services, removing a door or the occupant’s possessions from the dwelling unit, or destroying the lock in any way or changing it without supplying a new key.

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