Landlords struggling with eviction policies

Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 18:25:45-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Donald Damato says his home on Prospect Avenue in Buffalo was the perfect investment for him when he purchased it last winter.

"We like the city, we liked the location and everything was going to work out for us," Damato said.

But then, the pandemic hit, rent payments stopped and eviction courts closed. Now the apartment has holes in the walls, tiles broken and a landlord left to fix it all.

"So we've got no rent and our apartment destroyed because we cant evict anybody," Damato said, "no one can help us."

Damato says his previous tenant refused to leave until Monday, when he says he actually paid him to do so. Due to New York’s COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020, New York State residents cannot be evicted until at least May 2021. Tenants also wait to pay all back rent until the moratorium ends. So, regardless of how much damage the tenant caused, Damato had no recourse.

"I don't know what to do, we pay our mortgage, utilities, taxes but because of the moratorium we can't do anything," Damato said, "courts are closed so no one can help us."

Damato says he did file a claim in Buffalo eviction court, but that court has been closed due to COVID-19.

According to the Department of Homes and Community Renewal, landlords can apply for a NY forward loan to help with missed rental payments and will not be penalized missed mortgage payments.

All missed rent payments during the pandemic must be paid after the moratorium ends in May.