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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

MELS Housing Rights Webinar

Municipal Employees Legal Services (MELS)
Call MELS at (212) 815-1111 to make your appointment
or email for assistance.


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 after work online session to watch MELS lawyers present the latest updates on tenants’ rights and Governor Cuomo’s eviction moratorium.

“As courts begin to re-open, 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 non-payment, rent overcharges, and 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 remains 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 Oct. 1.

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

It extends the ban on residential evictions in New York from Oct. 1 to Dec. 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 DC37 MELS lawyer call 212.815.1111 or email the

To see the video and PowerPoint presentations from the webinar, go to and scroll to the bottom of the story.