By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
New York lawmakers plan to hold a special session remotely on Monday, at which they are expected to pass a bill extending NYS’s ban on residential evictions.
As reported by the Associated Press, State Senate and Assembly leaders announced the meeting on Sunday. The current deadline for the halt on residential evictions related to the coronavirus pandemic is January 1st. Evictions that have are already begun or are pending within a month would be put on hold to allow people to submit a “hardship declaration” under the new bill. The evictions would reportedly be prevented until May 1.
“By enacting this comprehensive residential eviction and foreclosure moratorium, we are delivering real protection for countless renters and homeowners who would otherwise be at risk of losing their homes, adding to the unprecedented hardship that so many are facing,” state Sen. Brian Kavanagh and the bill’s sponsor, said Sunday.
There are also federal efforts as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state current eviction moratorium, which he vowed to extend beyond Jan. 1. “Obviously we update these things as we go,” said Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s top advisor on Wednesday. “We’re not going to let anybody whose evicted due to these circumstances be evicted.”
Housing advocates, however, want a stronger ban, saying that the executive order imposes hurdles by forcing residents to prove financial hardship. This new bill would allow tenants to submit a single simple document to express financial difficulty. The new law also adds small landlords, who own fewer than 10 properties, under its protection keeping them from foreclosure or tax liens due to income loss. Senate Democrats are calling this the strongest bill of its kind across the country.
The Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 of the city’s largest landlords, opposes the planned bill. On Sunday, it warned in a letter that such a broad eviction moratorium, which doesn’t require proof of economic hardship, would encourage thousands of tenants who have the ability to pay to use the bill to avoid paying their rent. This, they argue would put greater pressure on landlords and lenders potentially leading the city into bankruptcy and causing long-lasting damage to the affordable housing structure.
“The owners are either going to walk away or they’re not going to do anything with the buildings and the quality of the housing is going to go down dramatically,” said Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association.