NEW YORK CITY — The state Legislature voted Wednesday to extend an eviction moratorium for tenants who fell behind on their rent because of hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The moratorium will be extended until Jan. 15, according to Senate Democrats. They will also add hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to get the word out about the rental assistance program and pay out claims. Plus there will be $25 million to help people fight back against evictions.
“I’m just waiting for help from the state,” said renter Fernando Acuapan, who fell behind due to lost employment during the pandemic. “I applied like two months ago when they announced it and I’m still waiting.”
It is the case for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.
Still, as Gov. Kathy Hochul convenes the state legislature for an extra ordinary session, landlords like Rosanna Morey of Seaford in Nassau County say they need help as well.
“I have an incurable blood cancer,” she said.
So Morey told her tenant in June of last year she had to move out of the apartment attached to her home so family could move in and help out. Morey said she even helped her renter try and find a new place.
“And she said: ‘I don’t have to leave, so I’m not going to,’ and it’s been a battle ever since,” Morey said.
There was little she could do because her tenant suddenly claimed she was impacted by the pandemic. Under New York’s now expired eviction moratorium, there was no way for landlords to challenge this in court.
Hochul said the legislation will stand up to legal scrutiny. But the leader of the Rent Stabilization Association, the largest organization of landlords in New York, vowed Wednesday to sue to block the moratorium in federal court.
The Supreme Court ruled a few weeks ago New York must give landlords due process rights to remove tenants who have not experienced hardship.
The new moratorium aims to allow landlords to fight back against bad actors in court. They can challenge tenants claims that they are experiencing hardship during the pandemic. Landlords may also demand courts remove tenants who damage property or become a nuisance to other residents on the property.