Eviction Moratorium Extended Through August
On May 5, Governor Cuomo signed a measure passed by the New York State Legislature that extends a moratorium on evictions through Aug. 31. The law extends the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020, which was passed in December, for an additional four months. The protections for tenants had ended May 1. Under this extension, tenants can continue through August to cite economic hardship caused by the pandemic as a reason for not paying their rent. The measure also continues a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures for landlords.
Cuomo emphasized the continued economic effects of the pandemic in justifying the extension. "As we approach the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, it is critical that we continue to protect both New York's tenants and business owners who have suffered tremendous hardship throughout this entire pandemic," Governor Cuomo said. "Extending this legislation will help to ensure that vulnerable New Yorkers and business owners who are facing eviction through no fault of their own are able to keep their homes and businesses as we continue on the road to recovery and begin to build back our economy better than it was before."
Owners and Tenants Still Await Relief Funds
Struggling owners have placed their hopes on the $2.4 billion in federal rental assistance relief approved in March. The recently approved state budget allocated $2.35 billion in federal relief funds for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which will allow eligible households to apply for up to 12 months of rental and utility arrears assistance, as well as three prospective months of rent.
The state, however, has been slow to distribute those funds. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program, to be administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), has yet to open to applicants. The OTDA recently posted a webpage with eligibility information (https://otda.ny.gov/programs/Emergency-Rental-Assistance/), but it states that applications will be accepted soon and to check back on the page for more information on when applications will be accepted.