Omicron New York COVID Update: Eviction moratorium set to expire, rent relief site to reopen

NEW YORK (WABC) – New York will let its moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expire at the end of the week, but will again let people apply for eviction protection and rent relief.

The state Office of Temporary Assistance for the Disabled reopened the application portal on Tuesday, even though the state does not have enough money to provide more rent relief, in the 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 eviction moratorium 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.

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. New York Mayor Eric Adams called the amount received so far “insulting”.

The mayor noted that the city has the highest rent in the country and the average city resident spends 50% of their income on rent.

“I know what it’s like to live on the edge of homelessness,” Adams said.

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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 eviction moratorium and end rent skipping tenants 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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