New York’s eviction moratorium will expire on Saturday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams asks federal government for relief funds

NEW YORK (WABC) – New York will let its moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expire on Saturday, but will again let people apply for eviction protection and rent relief. New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced additional measures to help with the housing crisis as expiration nears.

The state Office of Temporary Assistance for the Disabled reopened the application portal earlier this week, even though the state doesn’t have enough money to provide more rent relief, saying absence of a deluge of federal funding.

Applicants are protected from deportation while the state considers their application.

Last week, a state judge ordered New York to reopen the application portal for the time being, as the court considers a lawsuit filed by tenants and the Legal Aid Society.

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Tenant advocates say it’s unfair that the state government is leaving thousands of still struggling New Yorkers unprotected from eviction, especially as the eviction ban is set to take effect. late Saturday.

“The Center for NYC Neighborhoods is deeply concerned about the expiration of the statewide moratorium on foreclosures and evictions on Saturday, January 15,” CEO and Executive Director Christie Peale said in a statement. “The reality is that too many homeowners and renters remain dangerously close to losing their homes nearly two years since the COVID-19 pandemic upended New York City and its people. The moratorium has been a key source of stability for New Yorkers. -Yorkers facing foreclosure or eviction, especially for black and brown and low-to-middle income families who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.We hope New York will extend the moratorium, so we can ensure A fairer recovery for all New Yorkers in distress can contact the Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) for free assistance from community housing counselors or legal service providers.

Lawyers for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration argued it was wrong to offer false hope to candidates whose landlords won’t receive rent relief without more help from Washington. Hochul has made it clear that she plans to let the eviction moratorium expire.

“What we want to do is let people know that this is over, very soon,” she said. “I have conversations with the Legislative Assembly about what to do.”

She said New York extended its moratorium on evictions last fall even as other states let theirs end, and that she and other governors, including California, would again ask the federal government more help.

Lawmakers are considering other ways to help tenants, including legislation that would make it much harder for landlords to evict tenants.

New York spent about half of the $2.4 billion in federal funding for emergency rent relief. Much of the rest has yet to reach landlords because, according to the state, it is struggling to contact landlords and tenants.

“I want to echo the call of Governor Hochul and congressional delegations from New York, urging the federal Treasury Department to immediately increase the federal aid package,” Adams said.

New York is only expected to receive $27 million in additional federal rent assistance — a fraction of the nearly $1 billion requested by Hochul last fall. Adams called the amount received so far “insulting,” noting that the city has the highest rent in the country and the average city dweller spends 50% of their income on rent.

“I know what it’s like to live on the edge of homelessness,” Adams said. “We are about to face another housing crisis in our city.”

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Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine reminds New Yorkers of the city’s Right to Counsel Act, which guarantees “free legal services to tenants who are subject to eviction.”

“We are going to have to now, at this time, fully activate the Right to Counsel Act,” he said. “I want to make sure that no cases move forward now, no matter how big the avalanche of evictions, that no cases move unless they have a lawyer.”

This free eviction court attorney can be requested by calling 311.

“We’ve never faced the level of evictions that might be expected after this moratorium is lifted,” Levine said. “We could potentially face tens of thousands of evictions.”

Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords and managers housing more than 2.5 million people in New York City, said the state should continue to push for federal assistance and fully reopen housing courts.

“It’s time to end the moratorium on evictions and put an end to tenants skipping rent because there are no repercussions for non-payment,” Strasburg said.

He said existing state law allows tenants to argue in court that they cannot pay rent due to financial hardship related to COVID-19.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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