Tenants in New York State facing eviction from cases before the COVID-19 pandemic could begin getting booted from their homes as soon as October 1st, according to updated guidance from the courts system.

The new deadline for a pause on evictions has been expected for nearly a week, after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new executive order giving authority to the courts system to decide how to handle evictions moving forward.

Though no tenant can be physically forced out of their home before October 1st, the new memorandum from Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks allows for residential eviction proceedings prior to March 17th to proceed, so long as another hearing is held before a judge to exhaust all options before an eviction is carried out. Eviction cases filed after March 17th are still suspended, Marks's memo says.

The October 1st date sets a timeline for tenants, rather than checking for updates day-in and day-out on the courts website, says Legal Aid Society staff attorney Ellen Davidson.

"But it seems incredibly unlikely that, by October 1st, this virus will go away—that we'll be back to normal, and that everything, all of our institutions will be functioning normally," Davidson added. "What I expect we're going to find is instead we're going to be in the midst of second wave, which would make people being kicked out of their homes into the streets more dangerous for them and worse for the city."

Some 14,000 tenants were facing warrants for eviction in January, February, and March of this year, according to the Department of Social Services analysis. All told, 200,000 cases are pending in NYC's housing court from before the pandemic, according to a directive from NYC Civil Court Administrative Judge Anthony Cannataro.

"I think our biggest concern with cases moving forward is most tenants don't have attorneys," said Davidson, who noted that unrepresented tenants would need both access to broadband to participate properly virtually, or otherwise show up in person at housing court—a concern due to indoor crowding during the health crisis.

The general counsel for the Rent Stabilization Association, Mitchel Posilkin, says, to him, both the directive and memo don't do much to ensure cases without legal representation move forward.

"The vast majority of cases are going to continue to gather dust in the files of the housing court," said Posilkin, who says landlords need rental payments to pay property taxes and a laundry list of other bills. "I think OCA has made every attempt here to provide balance, so that owners can begin to move forward in their cases and can begin to address longstanding situations where tenants not paying their rent before COVID, and to provide some closure to this process so that the court can also begin to process the thousands of other cases that are still pending in the court."

The new guidance requires judges to "address a range of subjects related to the case and COVID-19 concerns" before a warrant can be sent to city marshals for enforcement, the memo reads. Those include relief under the Tenant Safe Harbor Act—written to protect tenants facing financial troubles during the pandemic from eviction, not before.

Davidson said the guidance indicates the act could protect some tenants facing eviction before the pandemic from getting kicked out, though that would have to play out in the courts.

"I hope that the judges listen to the Office of Court Administration on that," Davidson said. "We appreciate that the courts are looking out for tenants in this order."

But, she added, "I think it's curious that the governor who has had so much control over so many aspects of New York State has left the fate of tenants in someone else's hands."

The legal aid non-profit is demanding Cuomo extend the moratorium indefinitely.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has previously said the city is looking into the legality of barring city marshals from carrying out evictions, and the Law Department confirmed Wednesday such a possibility is still being evaluated.

Mayoral spokesperson Bill Neidhardt called for broader relief from both Albany and Washington.

"Extending eviction protections is certainly a welcome sight for working class families across New York, but let’s be clear, we still need Washington and Albany to deliver on long term assistance for tenants," Neidhardt said. "In the meantime, the Mayor and New York City stand at the ready to help people in need avoid losing their homes."

The Governor's office did not respond to questions.