NY Might Extend State Eviction Moratorium to August 31

Current Federal Eviction Moratorium Expires June 30

UPDATE: The New York State Eviction Moratorium has been passed by both the Senate and Assembly. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill on Tuesday, May 4. A federal judge recently overturned the nationwide eviction moratorium issued by the CDC, but that will have no effect on New Yorkers’ protections.

New York State Legislators are currently in talks to extend the NYS Eviction Moratorium to August 31st. Voting will begin Monday, May 3rd.

According to the Gothamist, lawmakers Assemblymember Jeff Dinowitz and Senator Brian Kavanaugh introduced the extension bill on Friday, just one week before the moratorium is set to expire, May 1st.

Unlike the federal moratorium issued by the CDC, the New York State moratorium does not list a particular limit to household income, percentage of income used on medical expenses, or any other financially specific terms in order for a tenant to qualify. The document simply states you must be, “experiencing financial hardship,” due to any of five reasons including employment issues and an increase in health related expenses, or, if moving into new housing would pose COVID-19 health risks.

The good news is that the bill to extend the eviction halt is likely to pass, and either way, many New Yorkers will be covered by the federal moratorium until the end of June. The bad news is that if it does pass, the possibility of Governor Andrew Cuomo holding off on signing it means some tenants could slip through the cracks. For any tenant who is covered by NY State’s moratorium but doesn’t meet those numerically specific requirements of the federal moratorium, a delay in getting the bill passed would leave a small window for them to be at risk of eviction.

“While we hope that Governor Cuomo signs the extension, we recognize that these piecemeal eviction moratoriums are not sufficient for our communities,” said Rolando Guzman, Deputy Director of Community Preservation at St. Nicks Alliance. “We need a true, all-encompassing moratorium on evictions until the pandemic is fully over and real rent and mortgage relief is released. St. Nicks Alliance and UNO are also fighting to pass Good Cause eviction which could protect tens of thousands of unregulated tenants from losing their homes across North Brooklyn.”

Mass evictions would likely heighten the spread of COVID-19 through moving and homelessness, which is what makes the moratorium extensions so necessary. Another, more obvious reason behind it is the fact that COVID-19 has left countless New Yorkers facing financial trouble. In addition to the moratorium extension bill, Sen. Kavanaugh is pushing for a rental assistance program to combat this. 

“Basically, tenants would apply. They could apply with their landlords. We will encourage people to do that,” Kavanagh said to CBS 6 Albany. “Once they’re approved the full amount of rent that they’ve been unable to pay will be paid directly to the landlord up to a year of unpaid rent and will also cover the cost of utilities.”

CBS 6 Albany also reported that if the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program is passed, you would have to have lost income due to the pandemic and be below 120 percent of your area’s median income to qualify. The median household income in North Brooklyn stands at $56,900, while Williamsburg in particular is at about $53,303 according to the 2019 American Community Survey.

Tenants can prevent being evicted by confirming that they meet the terms of eligibility with any signed and completed written document that lists the terms and liabilities, to be provided to their landlord. For convenience, the CDC has prepared a pre-written federal moratorium declaration form. The hardship declaration form for the NYS Moratorium can be found here in 20 different languages.

The state order’s new expiration date is pending and the federal order’s expiration date, June 30, 2021, is subject to change, “based on the changing public health landscape.”

Original content published on 04.27.21. Last Updated on 05.07.2021

Author: Kassondra Gonzalez

Communications Associate and Contributor of the Greenline.

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