New York is returning to normal. The owners feel left behind.
Tuesday marked a major milestone for the state when Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted nearly all remaining social distancing warrants and other safety precautions, some 16 months after lockdowns related to the pandemic began.
Dine out? Don’t hesitate to sneak past strangers. Manage a gym? Hourly disinfection is now optional.
Why, then, ask New York landlords, do tenants need an additional 10 weeks of eviction moratorium?
In the wake of Cuomos’ announcement, the Rent Stabilization Association, a group representing New York City landlords, called on the governor to end pandemic-era protections for tenants by immediately rescinding the moratorium on residential evictions, reopening housing courts and encouraging tenants to pay their rent.
In May, state lawmakers voted to extend the moratorium on evictions until August 31. This measure required Cuomo’s signature, although any changes to the ban would likely have to go through the state legislature first.
As tenants struggled during the pandemic and arrears increased by more than $ 2 billion, federal funds are intended to alleviate that debt, landlords say they were also injured, but received little government assistance.
Homeowners, some with 12 months or more of unpaid rent, are buried under property taxes, water bills and mortgage payments, said RSA President Joseph Strasburg.
Homeowners have been left out of the economic relief equation during the pandemic, Strasbourg and RSA President Aaron Sirulnick said in a joint statement. Now the government says everything is back to normal except for rental property owners and this is totally unacceptable,
For many New York renters, life has not returned to normal. The state rent relief program got off to a late start and finally opened on June 1, months after neighboring states. The portal was launched with problems and high demand. The nonprofits that help with the apps created callback lists for tenants during the first week.
If the volume continues this way, we may not be able to reach everyone, said Lakisha Morris, director of operations at Catholic Charities, one of the nonprofits helping guide tenants through the program.
Relief checks are expected to reach tenants four to eight weeks after their application is processed, meaning many tenants won’t see these funds until August or later. The moratorium on evictions is currently due to expire on August 31.
Until the end of June, the state will prioritize applications from the most vulnerable tenants, such as those who are unemployed or whose household incomes are below 50% of the region’s median. After that, the portal opens to all who are eligible. But some nonprofits say the money won’t last that long.
Assuming most people are in arrears of around $ 20,000 and based on a statewide $ 2.4 billion pot, that would mean relief for around 200,000 people, Scott said. Short, CEO of the non-profit organization RiseBoro. There were 22,000 people just in New York who applied on day one. So yes, it looks like we are going to run out of money.
Tenant advocates fear that ending the moratorium, even on its scheduled expiration date, will lead to a flood of eviction requests and an increase in homelessness.
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