NY Senate passes, Cuomo signs eviction moratorium, drawing landlords’ concern

The COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act will stop evictions in New York for two months.

The New York State Senate passed a bill to extend the state’s eviction moratorium beyond New Year’s Day, and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it on Monday. 

The bill, called the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act, will stop evictions for two months. 

A demonstrator holds a sign as she listens to speakers during a summer “Resist Evictions” rally to protest evictions in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

New Yorkers will be able to submit a “hardship declaration,” which would attest to their financial difficulties amid the pandemic and place a temporary stay on evictions and some mortgage foreclosures until May 1, 2021.

“Our goal here is to create a system where people have to attest, under penalty of law, that they have experienced a hardship and that that hardship is causing them to be unable to meet their rental obligations,” Senate sponsor Brian Kavanagh said. “We want to protect them from eviction as an emergency public health measure.”

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Some opponents of Kavanagh’s bill, however, say that because there is no process in place to verify financial hardship, the bill could be a “ticking time bomb.” 

Landlords in particular fear that the lack of process will open the door for fraud and removes the incentive for people to pay their rent. 

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New York landlord Deborah Pusatere told CBS 6 “that hurts everybody else around us, that hurts the government that I need to pay, that hurts my workers who are trying to pay and feed their families, that hurts the insurance companies, that hurts the mortgage companies.” 

Pusatere claimed 40 percent of her tenants are not paying rent, even though she believes they aren’t struggling financially. 

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Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act Monday night.

”This law adds to previous executive orders by protecting the needy and vulnerable who, through no fault of their own, face eviction during an incredibly difficult period for New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. ”The more support we provide for tenants, mortgagors and seniors, the easier it will be for them to get back on their feet when the pandemic ends.”

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Democratic Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the measure is “sending out a lifeline of hope to millions of New Yorkers, who will now be able to stay in their homes.” 

There’s also relief for owners of some rental properties.

According to WAMC public radio, “small landlords owning 10 or fewer units would also be able to file a financial hardship form to avoid foreclosure or tax liens on their property.”

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