Return of Yellowstone: The New York State Legislature Revives the Yellowstone Injunction


For more than 50 years, a commercial tenant in New York that was threatened with eviction could count on obtaining a Yellowstone injunction tolling its time to cure alleged lease defaults while challenging the legitimacy of those defaults. The result was that a commercial tenant could bring such a challenge without risking its lease should it be found in default. That all changed in May 2019, when the New York Court of Appeals ruled that commercial leases waiving the right to seek Yellowstone injunctions did not violate public policy. Seven months after that decision, the status quo ante has been restored, with the New York State Legislature enacting a law stating that such waivers are “null and void as against public policy.” N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 235-h. This article discusses the importance of Yellowstone injunctions to commercial tenants in New York and the significance of the Legislature’s decision to revive them.