As the seasons begin to change across New York state, concerns about rent and eviction are ramping up with the not so subtle reminders of cold weather to come.
Recently, both the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly passed legislation that aims to extend residential eviction moratoriums during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The increased safeguards now include the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, alongside the residential foreclosure moratorium, and an eviction and foreclosure moratorium for small businesses.
“In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down the federal eviction moratorium, the Senate Majority is taking action to adjust and extend the state's eviction moratorium to ensure that thousands of New Yorkers are protected from losing their homes and at the same time helping small landlords," stated Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins of the extension. "The Senate Democratic Majority will continue to fight to keep people in their homes and ensure that every individual who qualifies for these protections receives them. New York State's government must work effectively to address the needs of New Yorkers. I thank Governor Hochul and Speaker Heastie for their partnership and decisive leadership in addressing this critical issue, and I look forward to our continued collaboration on the issues New Yorkers most care about.”
Included in the Senate’s legislation is a two hundred and fifty million dollar hardship fund aimed at increasing aid to better assist small landlords who are also dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, we have been committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers -- including renters and homeowners -- are protected from losing their homes because of the hardships wrought by COVID-19,” Bill Sponsor and Chair of the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development Senator Brian Kavanagh said of the extension. “We’ve also worked hard to ensure that the financial burden on tenants and landlords is lifted, through generously funded, effective relief programs, and to protect small businesses. Today, as COVID-19 continues to be a threat to the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers throughout the state, we are taking decisive, comprehensive steps to extend and strengthen the pillars of our legislative strategy to keep all New Yorkers safe.”
In the New York State Assembly, the critical legislation extending both the residential and commercial eviction and foreclosure moratoriums was announced as passed by Speaker Carl Heastie, Codes Committee Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz and Housing Committee Chair Steven Cymbrowitz, alongside the Tenant Safe Harbor Act as well.
“Families and small businesses across the state are still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis,” Heastie remarked. “By extending the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums for those suffering financial hardship, we will give New Yorkers the peace of mind that they can stay in their homes while they go through the process of getting rental assistance – either through ERAP or the State Supplemental Rental Assistance Fund. The Assembly Majority will continue working to help families and small businesses recover and get back on their feet.”
The Assembly’s legislation aims to extend the deferment of evictions and foreclosures until January 15, 2022, simultaneously doing the same for the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, which previously ceased on June 24 when the declared state disaster emergency officially ended.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Assembly Majority has been committed to protecting struggling families and businesses from eviction and getting them the assistance and protections they need during this global health and economic crisis,” said Dinowitz of the extension. “Extending the residential and commercial eviction and foreclosure moratoriums will give New Yorkers the opportunity to get the rental assistance they need to stay safe and stay in their homes. We cannot and will not allow mass evictions that put people on the streets in the midst of a pandemic. This is a health issue as much as an economic issue.”
The Assembly’s legislation also addresses some lingering implementation issues regarding New York state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). With 176,000 ERAP applications filed, New York state remains on target to achieve the federally mandated sixty-five percent of the first rounds of rental assistance by the end of September.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on so many of our state's tenants and small landlords, leaving them unable to pay rent and monthly expenses and threatening their ability to remain in their homes and apartments,” Cymbrowitz noted of the legislation. “The legislation we pass today will extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, and give New Yorkers the ability to pay their rental or mortgage arrears, stay in their homes, and give them the ability to recover from this health and economic crisis.”
Additionally, the Assembly’s legislation also increases funding to the State Supplemental Rental Assistance by $150 million, making the total for the program $250 million. This funding is allocated for homeowners whose tenants meet a certain income threshold, have abandoned the residence in question, or have not cooperated with the program.
“New York families that are struggling financially and facing eviction deserve to have someone on their side to help them avoid eviction and stay in their homes,” commented New York State Assembly Member Latoya Joyner. “The Assembly Majority will keep working to make sure that New Yorkers are not left out in the cold because of financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program.