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N.Y. Judges Avoiding Evictions, Pushing Tenants To Apply For Depleted Rent Relief


The state’s eviction moratorium lifted earlier this month, but initial landlord attempts to remove tenants show the courts may not give property owners the quick resolution they hoped.

Romeo Budhoo, an upstate New York landlord who says seven of his 17 tenants are behind in their rent, told The Real Deal his attempt to remove tenants through the courts has failed because judges are telling renters to apply for the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The funding is exhausted, but when tenants apply, they are given automatic protection from eviction.

A New York Office of Court Administration spokesperson told TRD the expectation is that if a tenant doesn't have representation in housing court, judges will help find other options aside from eviction. Even though the rental aid program is out of money, tenants can still apply for it in the hope more funding will become available.

“Nothing has changed … Landlords have to wait again,” Budhoo told TRD. He said he is owed $75K in unpaid rent.

The initial reports from housing court are likely to cause major angst among New York property owners, many of whom say they are desperate to recuperate lost rents. Many say the rental aid program has been a disaster, with funding being slow to reach applicants and the online system being plagued with problems.

Landlords have told Bisnow in some cases they have been waiting to evict tenants who haven’t paid but are still able to make the rent, and they argue blocking evictions on bad actors prevents them from helping renters who need it.

“We anticipate in January if the eviction moratorium lifts, we’ll be able to take tenants to court,” Lemor Development Group Managing Member Kenneth Morrison told Bisnow in early December.

He said the intention was not to remove people from their homes but to pressure officials to open up more funding and speed up support.