Friday, August 19, 2022

New York’s small landlords fight to access COVID assistance


Top state executives are discussing how to address the looming expiration after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal moratorium on evictions

New York’s small landlords are taking out second mortgages, cashing life insurance policies and other measures to stay afloat as they fight to access COVID-19 assistance promised to satisfy millions of dollars in rental arrears incurred over the last 17 months as some tenants abused the state’s eviction moratorium.

Top state executives are discussing how to address the looming expiration after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal moratorium on evictions late Thursday night.

I am in talks with the Senate Majority Leader and Assembly Speaker to call a special session to address the impending eviction crisis, given the Supreme Court’s decision, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement Friday. Our teams will be working through the weekend to address how best to deliver relief to renters and homeowners in need as quickly as possible.

The New York governor said she was exploring all options to further protect New Yorkers from eviction after the ruling, which effectively said Congress would have to act to extend the moratorium.

I am very disappointed in the Supreme Court’s appalling and insensitive ruling that eliminates a key line of defence for tenants facing housing insecurity during the ongoing pandemic, Hochul said earlier Friday on the decision.

Lawmakers had not been briefed on discussions or met with their conferences as of Friday afternoon.

Earlier this month, two lawmakers introduced a bill to extend the moratorium through Oct. 31. The Legislature has been out of session since June 10.

The billions the state received in federal COVID rental relief requires separate tenant and landlord components, per federal requirements, according to representatives with OTDA.

No ifs, ands or buts, a department representative said Friday. We have less discretion in this area. Unfortunately, the federal government is requiring tenant participation.

State law permits applications be approved to distribute relief payments with at least the tenant side completed, but not when only the landlord’s piece is provided.

A bill sponsored by Sen. James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, would expand ERAP eligibility to landlords “who have made a good faith effort to contact a tenant and assist them in applying for the rental assistance,” or if the tenant has already vacated the residence.

The measure passed both houses of state Legislature this session, but has been awaiting a governor’s signature. It would also provide guidance on how to spend the $100 million the state budgeted for the ERAP for unique situations not covered in federal criteria.

Sen. Skoufis was in active negotiations with former Gov. Cuomo and Executive Chamber staff last month about technical issues involving amending language in the budget.

Then the political world blew up and this stopped happening, Skoufis said Friday of Cuomo, who left office in disgrace Monday.

I would have expected this to be resolved right now if not for the tumult that happened recently, the senator added.

My hope, my expectation is this is going to be a top priority bill to deal with for the new governor, Skoufis said.

OTDA does not comment on proposed or pending legislation.

Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-Saugerties, who represents Greene County, co-sponsored the measure.

My office has been contacted by small landlords and renters alike about the challenges they’re facing in accessing ERAP funds — these are New Yorkers who have lost income during this pandemic through no fault of their own and we are doing everything we can to help, Hinchey said Friday. We continue to work with the governor and our legislative colleagues to get this money out quickly and encourage all eligible New Yorkers to complete their applications as soon as possible. Anyone experiencing challenges related to ERAP can call my office at 845-331-3810 for assistance.

Lawmakers across the state have received calls from afflicted small landlords since the pandemic began.


The articles are for information purposes only and Invest for Property shall not be held responsible for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies within it. Any rules or regulations mentioned within the website are those relevant at the time of publication and may not be the most up-to-date.

Invest for Property does not endorse any of the products or services that appear on it or are linked to it and are not liable for any action that you may take as a result of the content of this website, or losses or damage you may incur doing so.

There is no obligation to purchase anything but, if you decide to do so, you are strongly advised to consult a professional adviser before making any investment decisions.

Please remember that investments of any type may rise or fall and past performance does not guarantee future performance in respect of income or capital growth; you may not get back the amount you invested.

Leave a Reply