by Mark A. Krohn, Partner
Jacobowitz & Gubits, LLP

Pending Bill Would Help Seniors From Wrongful Eviction
There exists a proposed bill which will establish additional protections for senior citizens against improper evictions by requiring landlords to file an affidavit which affirms that a tenant is or is not a senior citizen. Under existing law, if you fail to timely reply (“answer”) to a landlord complaint the Courts have the ability of granting to your landlord a default judgment. If this happens, you may quickly find yourself without a home. Recognizing that many seniors suffer from physical or mental infirmities which might interfere with their ability to answer a complaint timely, the proposed bill provides that, before a default judgment can be issued, the landlord must file an affidavit with the court affirming that the tenant is not a senior citizen. The court would be precluded from issuing a default judgment until such time as the affidavit is filed. If the senior citizen is not represented by an attorney, the court may appoint one to represent him or her. Further, under the proposed bill the court will have the power to postpone the proceedings for as long as three months for the purpose of permitting the senior the right to hire counsel and prepare his or her own defense. The matter is currently under consideration by the Division of Housing and Urban Renewal.

New Law Gives Seniors Time to Pay Their Real Estate Tax
If you are age sixty-five (65) or older you may now have an additional five (5) days to pay your real estate tax without worry of late penalty and interest charges. Bill A399 was signed into law on July 26,2006. The bill provides for an extra five days extension to seniors receiving the senior enhanced STAR exemption if their locality so provides. The bill, sponsored by Aileen M. Gunther (Assembly member – Orange & Sullivan) and co-sponsored by Adam Bradley (Assemblyman – Westchester), explains that many seniors who rely upon Social Security benefits as their sole means of income find it difficult to make their property tax payments of the first of the month because of the delay in receiving their retirement checks. The new law allows for localities to extend the time period within which seniors may pay by up to five days in order to allow sufficient time for them to receive their Social Security. Check with your local municipality to see if they are participating.