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New York Lawmakers Prevent Landlords from Evicting Tenants till May 2021

New York Lawmakers Prevent Landlords from Evicting Tenants till May 2021

New York State lawmakers have approved a moratorium on evictions that will help renters and other homeowners stay afloat amidst the biting economic downturn occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats in both Houses voted overwhelmingly for the passage of the legislative bill that places a ban on evictions until May 2021. The new measure by the state lawmakers is coming on the heels of the expiration of a similar housing policy by the federal government.

Sen. Michael Gianaris said in a statement that enough had not been done to prevent the escalation of a housing crisis brought about by the devastating impact of the pandemic. He noted that the measure by the lawmakers was a step in the right direction to prevent residents of New York from being evicted from their homes, even at a time when safety guidelines require that everyone remain at home. He pledged that lawmakers would be taking more steps to bring succor to renters in the coming months.

The new legislation places an effective ban on evictions and foreclosures for residents in New York, as far as such renters can prove that the adverse impacts of the pandemic had made it difficult for them to meet up with their rent or mortgage payment schedules.

With this new bill, tenants can make a “hardship declaration” that will prevent evictions up until May 1. All pending eviction notices will be put on hold for 60 days, giving renters the opportunity to make their declarations and submit them to the court.

Apart from giving protection to renters facing possible evictions, the bill also prevents foreclosures and tax liens sales for realtors, including small-time real estate owners who own about 10 or fewer housing units, who are going through hard times.

Property owners who default in mortgage payments will be protected from discrimination when applying for credit facilities. Homeowner benefits will also be automatically renewed for senior citizens and the disabled, NY Daily News.

Once news of the passage of the bill became public knowledge, a large section of tenants in the New York area heaved a sigh of relief after months of their calls for a ban on evictions. However, to keep thousands of residents from going homeless, a lot more work still needs to be done.

Cea Weaver of the Housing Justice for All said the move by the state lawmakers is just one among several other legislations bordering on housing and rent relief packages that must be passed into law in the coming year. Weaver noted that more still needs to be done in the area of back debts piled up by renters, relief for unemployed renters, and other such packages. Weaver especially called for debt relief for renters, and the creation of a fund to help to struggle small-time landlords, while raising the tax rate on the rich.

However, Republican lawmakers have opposed this measure, saying it could be abused. Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt (R-Lockport) said the proposed measure will open up a leeway for wealthy renters and homeowners to escape meeting their financial obligations.

Notwithstanding, many Democrats have rallied around the bill, saying the measure was protected lots of renters from possible evictions. Sponsor of the bill, Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) said that by signing the bill into law, the public health sector would also be protected from further spread of the virus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has also given a similar moratorium against the eviction order before, was supportive of the bill. He said he would sign the new measure into law. Cuomo said the protection of homeowners was of utmost priority.


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