New York renters struggling to make rent can finally breathe a sigh of relief. State legislators voted to extend the New York Eviction Moratorium on residential and commercial properties until January 15, 2022, giving renters protection from evictions for at least 4 more months. New York’s renter protection laws are now among the most comprehensive in the country.
The Details on the New Moratorium
The extra time granted by the new bill will allow the state of New York to distribute federal rent relief funds to landlords who have tenants owing back rent while protecting hundreds of thousands of tenants from being evicted. The estimated amount due in back rent is $2.2 billion dollars statewide, since March 2020 when eviction cases were placed on hold due to the pandemic. The extension was also deemed necessary because New York was slow to begin dispersing federal relief funds although the process is now getting back on track. According to the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, by August 23rd, the state had only distributed 7% of the $2.7 billion dollars in federal funds to landlords who were owed back rent.
The New York law includes a new $250 million Supplemental Emergency Rental Assistance program to better serve additional households and landlords. Of that money, $125 million will be made available to households where income exceeds 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and up to 120% of AMI. The other half will go towards assistance to landlords whose tenants refuse to participate or have vacated the property with the money owed.
After the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s temporary eviction ban on August 26th, New York Governor Kathy Hochul held an extraordinary session of New York’s legislature to address the situation. Citing New York’s failure to distribute the federal relief funds, she said, “The pandemic has created unimaginable anxiety for families and business owners who have lost income and are struggling to pay the rent every month.” The new moratorium on residential and commercial evictions extends the protections of New York’s Safe Harbor Act in an effort to ease the impact of the pandemic.
How Will This Law Benefit New York City Landlords?
New York landlords are also getting more with the new bill. The moratorium gives landlords the power to challenge tenants who may not be suffering from financial hardship, despite tenant claims to the contrary. Landlords are now able to request a hearing in housing court to contest a financial hardship claim from a tenant.
Landlords can also evict tenants who have damaged the property, created a safety hazard for other tenants, or those who did not participate in the hardship program.
Many smaller, “mom and pop” landlords have been struggling to make mortgage payments and pay other taxes and expenses on their buildings with limited rent coming in. Landlords with fewer than 10 residential dwellings can file hardship declarations to their mortgage lender to prevent foreclosure.
What About NYC Businesses?
But is the new bill enough to help New York businesses? NYC Hospitality Alliance executive director Andrew Rigie called the extension a positive development for struggling restaurants and bars, however, the legislative protections may not cover as many businesses as before. The state will need to release the funds as quickly as possible to save businesses from foreclosing or facing eviction.
How to Apply for Assistance
New Yorkers who are having a hard time paying their rent can apply for assistance through the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Applicants are protected from eviction once they complete an application and will receive a year of protection if qualified. Applicants can apply here.
Lara Popeck has been writing for over 10 years, with a focus on business and real estate-related articles. She has a degree in Economics from Bryn Mawr College and an MBA from Montclair State University.