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Assembly votes for eviction moratorium extension, landlords nervous as lost profits build

Posted at 5:36 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 17:36:31-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The State legislature announced that an extension on the eviction moratorium has passed. It will now go through August 31st after expiring on May 1st.

“Tens of thousands of people across the state are still suffering from the impacts of COVID-19. We cannot allow people to lose their homes or businesses and we can't have more people become homeless during this pandemic,” Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz said. “The extension of the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures is critical to helping families keep a roof over their heads and get back on their feet, and help our small businesses stay in business.”

The State Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget included approximately $3 billion in combined federal and state dollars for rent and homeowner relief. This included a rental relief program to aid eligible tenants with up to 12 months of rent and utility arrears assistance, plus up to three months’ prospective rent assistance for rent burdened households to maintain housing stability. This rental relief has not yet been distributed.

Peter Vogt has been a landlord for 16 years. The statewide moratorium that prevents him from evicting tenants for not paying rent has plunged him into debt.

"We cannot pay the mortgage on this property we cannot pay the taxes on this property they have excessive water bills we cannot keep up with," Vogt said.

Vogt says the tenants his home in the Town of Tonawnada have not paid rent since December, costing him more than $15,000 in owed rent. The moratorium, which protects tenants if they can prove they’re struggling because of the pandemic, expired on Saturday. State lawmakers are expected to extend it until August 31st.

According to the state, this extra few months will give more tenants the chance to apply for the $2.4 billion dollar rent relief program. But Vogt says it is leaving landlords like him out to dry, as there is no relief in place.

"I have to borrow money monthly just to pay existing bills. We have to," Vogt said.

Vogt says he hopes that the new resolution includes some sort of landlord protection. The vote is expected to take place in the State Legislature at some point Monday.

It is important to remember that all unpaid rent is expected to be paid once the moratorium ends.