A new state law was supposed to provide a simple way for landlords to evict tenants who claim they can’t pay the rent because of the devastating pandemic outbreak. However, one month into the new system, attorneys say the new law is already having an impact. Landlords who can’t wait much longer have taken their suits to other venues in the hope of getting a decision much sooner. Tenants can claim protection from eviction for nonpayment by checking a box affirming that the pandemic has affected them financially. And landlords can contest that by signing an affidavit — a statement sworn under penalty of perjury — that the tenant’s hardship did not exist. If the court agrees to the hardship claim, the landlord will have to face criminal charges, which are likely to include a prison sentence of five years.
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