New York Extends Eviction Moratorium As Renters Wait For Federal Relief
Commercial and residential tenants in New York state can’t be thrown out for failing to pay rent until at least the end of August, the state Senate ruled Monday.
The eviction moratorium was set to run out on the first day of this month, but senators voted to extend it until Aug. 31. Laws preventing foreclosures on small businesses and landlords were also extended.
"Ensuring that everyone has access to a stable, safe place to live is always a priority, but it's never been more important than it is now," Sen. Brian Kavanagh said in a statement. "We also urgently need the state to get the relief programs we've enacted for tenants and landlords, homeowners, and small businesses up and running as soon as possible so people can get the financial assistance they need."
The federal eviction moratorium is set to expire on June 30, and reports have emerged that bureaucratic red tape is holding up much of the nearly $50B in aid Congress approved for rent relief. Almost all of the funding has been sent to state and federal governments, but little has made it into the hands of tenants and landlords, Politico reports. Thousands of landlords across the country weren't taking the aid earlier this year, claiming some of the requirements — like preventing some evictions — are too onerous.
In New York, the Emergency Rental Assistance program has a total of $2.4B — which includes $2.3B in federal funds and an extra $100M in the form of state dollars — and was passed as part of the state budget this spring.
The funds allow for landlords and renters to apply for support, though there is no requirement that property owners accept the aid. If they do, they are banned from pursuing evictions and increasing rents for one year. The support can be used for a year of rent arrears if the back rent was due anytime after March 13, 2020.
Tenants can self-attest their eligibility, and a landlord who doesn't take the funds within a year can’t go after the unpaid rent through the courts.
Community Housing Improvement Program Executive Director Jay Martin told The Real Deal this latest extension of the moratorium is another example of delaying, rather than solving, the problem.
“This moratorium extension buys them more time to dole out federal funding, but in doing so, the state has continued to deny due process to renters and their housing providers, which will just delay New York City’s recovery,” he said.