ALBANY, NY (AP) New York is letting its eviction and foreclosure moratorium expire at the end of the week but will again allow people to apply for eviction protection and housing benefits, Governor Kathy Hochul said Tuesday.
The state agency for temporary disability assistance said the application portal will open at 10 p.m. Tuesday — though the state doesn’t have enough money to provide any more housing benefit, in the absence of a torrent of federal funding. Applicants are given protection from eviction while the state reviews their application.
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A state judge last week ordered New York to temporarily reopen the application portal as the court considers a lawsuit filed by tenants and the Legal Aid Society.
Tenant advocates say it’s unfair for the state government to leave thousands of still struggling New Yorkers without eviction protection, especially as the eviction ban is about to end on Saturday.
Attorneys for the Hochul administration have argued that it is wrong to offer false hopes to applicants whose landlords do not receive housing benefits without more help from Washington.
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Hochul used her Tuesday press conference to make it clear that she intends to lift the deportation moratorium.
“What we want to do is let people know that this will be finalized very soon,” Hochul said. “I’m in talks with lawmakers about what to do.”
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She said New York extended its eviction moratorium last fall, even as other states let theirs stop, and that she and other governors, including from California, will again ask the federal government for more help.
Lawmakers are considering other ways to help tenants, including legislation that would make it much more difficult for landlords to evict tenants.
New York has spent about half of $2.4 billion in federal financing for emergency rental relief. Much of the rest has yet to reach landlords because, according to the state, it’s having trouble contacting landlords and tenants.
New York is expected to receive just $27 million in additional federal rent aid — part of the nearly $1 billion Hochul sought last fall.
Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 owners and managers housing more than 2.5 million people in New York City, said the state must continue to push for federal aid and fully reopen housing courts.
“It’s time to end the moratorium on evictions and end renters skipping rent because there are no consequences for not paying,” Strasburg said.
He said existing state law allows tenants to argue in court that they cannot afford rent due to financial difficulties from COVID-19.
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