ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York lawmakers have passed a bill extending the state's ban on residential evictions past its Jan. 1 deadline. State Senate and Assembly leaders announced Monday's session on Sunday.
The bill applies to evictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pending evictions and those begun within a month of when the bill takes effect would be put on hold to allow people to submit a “hardship declaration” that would prevent any evictions until May 1.
"We really need to keep people safe by staying home," said Rebecca Garrard, the campaign's manager for housing justice for Citizen Action for New York. "What we've seen since October is an onslaught of evictions," said Garrard.
That's because the first moratorium on evictions ended at the end of September, after being in place for about six months.
"It's been very challenging the past nine months," said Lisa Damiani. Damiani is the Executive Director of the WNY Property Owner's Coalition. The group gives property owners a voice in front of lawmakers. "The government wants to provide relief but they’re doing it on the backs of the private property owners," she said.
Damiani says property owners are facing hardship too. They're in many cases not getting paid.
"What the government is mandating is the use of private property for public good," she said. "No one is contesting that there are people experiencing hardships. The question we raise is who should be assisting the people experiencing the hardship?"
Senator Robert Ortt and his Republican counterparts say they tried to put forth an amendment to this legislation, which would provide a series of checks and balances for those who are seeking eviction protections. The amendment would have also set up a "payment plan" of sorts. Ortt says this was rejected.
Ortt says what's also troubling is not only are landlords missing out on money owed, they can't even start an eviction process until May of next year. That process usually takes several months.
This bill also does however protect property owners from negative credit reporting and protects foreclosure and tax leins.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently pledged to extend the current eviction moratorium beyond its Jan. 1 expiration but legislators said their measure would broaden protection.