First of all, I hope everyone and their friends and families are safe and healthy.
I wanted to write an article to summarize some of your options available if you have been financially affected by COVID-19
Please note that the government programs I mention are subject to change. It is important to confirm that information is still accurate and up to date when you apply.
What if I, or someone I know, has been fired?
If you lost your job due to COVID-19, you should be eligible for unemployment. This now includes self-employed workers and independent contractors. You may also receive an additional $600 per week until July 31, 2020.
More information can be found at https://labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm
What if I am, or someone I know is, having trouble making a rent payment?
If you are having trouble paying your rent, you should be aware of the government benefits available, such as the broadened unemployment assistance. If you are a business, you should be aware of the other government benefits listed below.
Courts are currently closed (except for essential business, e.g. illegal evictions) and there is a 90 day moratorium in effect prohibiting evictions. The order may be found at https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-new-york-state-pause-executive-order
Your landlord should elect to discuss an amicable resolution with you and assist you during this time. If not, I would certainly be happy to review your lease and discuss your options.
What if I, or someone I know, has a tenant having issues making rent payments?
If your tenant is having issues making rent payments, note that the government has substantially expanded unemployment benefits. You should be in contact with your tenants to ensure that they are paying what they can and applying for unemployment if they qualify.
The courts have closed (except for essential business) and there is a 90 day moratorium on evictions so you are not able to immediately bring tenants to court. You may still serve them with a rent demand or notice of termination, though it is possible that the Court will not honor a notice served during the pandemic. If you can discuss an amicable resolution with your tenant, that may be best.
What if I am, or someone I know is, having trouble making a mortgage payment?
If you are having trouble making mortgage payments, you should be aware that the Governor provided a 90 day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers that have been affected by COVID-19.
Additional information can be found at https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-executive-order-mandating-businesses-require-office-personnel-decrease
You should also explore the expanded unemployment benefits to confirm whether you qualify.
What if I, or someone I know, has a business that shut down or has otherwise been adversely affected?
If you are a business owner that has been affected, there are a number of government programs available to assist.
If you take a salary, you should be qualified to file for unemployment. If so, you would be eligible for the additional $600 a week.
The Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) directly offers an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. You may use this loan on fixed debts, payroll and other operational costs. You may request a loan advance that does not need to be repaid. The application is available online at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
The Payroll Protection Loan is offered through SBA lenders which will provide a loan of up to 2.5 times your average monthly payroll. The interest rate should be 0.5% with a 2 year loan term. A portion of the loan is forgivable if you use it for qualified business expenses related to payroll.
I would be more than happy to introduce you to my colleague that I am working with to obtain the Payroll Protection Loan. His fee is paid by the government so it is an easy way to support a small business during these times.
For businesses located in New York City, an Employee Retention Grant is available to assist 40% of payroll costs for businesses with 1-4 employees. There is also a Small Business Continuity Loan Fund offering zero interest loans of up to $75,000 for businesses with less than 100 employees. Additional information is available at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/sbs/businesses/covid19-business-outreach.page
Please note that the information provided is accurate to the best of my knowledge as of April 3, 2020. The content in this article is not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship has been created unless and until an engagement agreement has been fully signed and delivered to the Firm and any retainer has been paid in accordance with such engagement agreement.