Since 2013, evictions in New York City have dropped by 41%, largely in response to the new law guaranteeing tenants the right to counsel when their landlords attempt to evict them. Then, in a landmark package of protections, the state of New York abolished high-rent deregulation and the so-called “vacancy bonus” for rent-stabilized apartments. Renovation (“IAI”) )rent increases were also severely limited.
That made eviction less desirable for landlords because they couldn’t up the rent upon finding a new tenant. Therefore, an existing tenant, even an imperfect one, became more desirable if they could pay the rent.
Other new changes gave tenants more time between delinquency notices and more opportunities to pay what they owe before eviction. The time from the first notice to an actual eviction has gone from about two weeks to nearly six weeks, according to CityLab.
Software helps owners
Building owners with lots of rentals to keep track of are finding it highly convenient to use software like ClickNotices or eWrit Filings, which allow delinquency and eviction notices to be sent with just a few clicks. The software plugs into common accounting programs and, in theory, helps landlords comply with the law as it sends pre- and post-eviction paperwork to tenants.
But tenant advocates have reservations. Using this software essentially streamlines the filing of eviction litigation even when it might not be warranted, or when the tenant has a defense.
“The reality is that when you file thousands of these, most of them are going to go through by default,” explains one tenant advocate. “The court is used as an arm of the landlord to collect. This is mass filing on just whatever information was plugged into the spreadsheet.”
That sounds a lot like the speedy foreclosures that were forced through, often illegally, during the foreclosure crisis. Mass filings do not naturally guarantee accuracy and legal compliance.
The consequences of mass evictions
Essentially, these automated filings facilitate the commencement of eviction proceedings including those with little or no basis.
A spokesperson for ClickNotices explains that the software comes with many options for communicating with renters, including texts and emails, and that the company works to educate landlords on the value of simply asking tenants why the rent is late.
Has your landlord attempted to evict you using automated software?