COVID-19 & Eviction Proceedings

Jamaica Seven LLC v Marion M Douglas, Tracey Reid, John Doe, Jane Doe was heard on September 30th, 2021. The petitioner commenced action back in December 2019, as a nonpayment proceeding, following the rejected warrant request by the court. Due to COVID-19 all eviction proceedings were suspended, because of several actions taken by the government to prevent tenants from being evicted during the pandemic.

In March 2021, the petitioner made a motion for a default judgment. The motion appeared in the HMP several times and the respondents continuously failed to appear. A hearing via teams was set for September 28th ,2021 and yet again the respondents failed to appear. The court then reserved a decision on the ultimate relief requested in the petitioner’s motion.

Mr. De Castro, a manager for the petitioner, testified that the current lease in question is dated from May 2021 – April 2023. He also testified that a rent demand notice was served prior to the commencement of the proceedings in December 2019 and before COVID-19 put a pause on such hearings being brought forth. Mr. De Castro also testified that he did not receive any COVID-19 hardship declarations or any ERAP applications from any of the respondents.

The court held that the petitioner’s motion and hearing testimony and evidence had established that they’re entitled to a judgment of possession on default against the respondents. The evidence also established a lease was in effect when the proceeding was commenced, and rents were due when it was commenced at the time of the hearing. However, the petitioners are not entitled to a monetary judgment.

The court deemed that hearing on September 28th, 2021, was enough to suffice as a issuance of a warrant of eviction. Upon issuance of the warrants, the petitioner shall be entitled to execute after service of a notice of eviction.

This judgment sets the tone for future complaints to arise. In cases where eviction proceedings were initiated pre- COVID, judgments will likely be entitled. However, this does not take into consideration those eviction cases brought forth during the pandemic.


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