MELS Holds Housing Rights Webinar


DC 37’s Municipal Employees Legal Services held a Renters’ and Tenants’ Housing Rights webinar on Zoom with housing experts and union lawyers on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Hundreds of union members joined the afterwork online session to watch MELS lawyers present the latest updates on tenants’ rights and Governor Cuomo’s eviction moratorium.

“As courts begin re-opening, including NYC Housing Court, we want to help members facing eviction and harassment during this pandemic. We believe our expert legal staff can help them learn how they could remain in their homes,” said MELS Director and Chief Counsel Bill Whalen. “This is one of the many legal services we are happy to provide for our members free of charge as part of their union dues and benefits.”

MELS lawyers also explained new COVID-19 defenses to nonpayment, rent overcharges, preferential rents and heard from advocates leading the movement to strengthen tenant protection laws in New York State.

In a recent blog post on, Whalen explained in detail the governor’s moratorium on evictions, which remain on hold pursuant to Orders, Memoranda and Directives that state:

  1. Eviction cases filed on or after March 17, 2020 continue to be suspended;
  2. Eviction cases filed before March 17, may proceed and must be presented to a judge before any action is taken; no residential evictions can take place before October 1.

Also of note on Sept. 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order which provides a national temporary ban on residential evictions resulting from the non-payment of rent through December 31, 2020.

It extends the ban on residential evictions in New York from October 1 to December 31, but does not apply to holdover eviction cases that are based on lease violations or expiration of leases.

The order applies to all residential properties and not only those involved with federal programs. There are criminal penalties if a landlord violates the order.

For a tenant to qualify for coverage under the CDC Order, the tenant is required to provide a “Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury” to the landlord.

A MELS attorney can assist DC 37 members (except those in the seven locals not covered by MELS) with this declaration and more.

Additional information on how these new laws may affect you is available on the DC 37 blog at To speak to a DC 37 MELS lawyer call 212 815-1111 or email the

The following are links to the webinar, and links for the video replay and PowerPoint presentations:

  1. Housing webinar video replay –
  2. Housing webinar – PowerPoint presentation
  3. Housing webinar – Preferential Rents
  4. Housing webinar – Rent Control & Rent Increase
  5. Housing webinar – Rent Overcharges
  6. Housing webinar – What can MELS do?
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