Hundreds and thousands of home renters in the US were in grave jeopardy of missing rent payments and being evicted as the global pandemic crisis entered its third month in May 2020. Smaller landlords face their own financial crisis.
NYC Governor Andrew Cuomo’s temp ban on many residential evictions in the city were about to expire, putting thousands of New Yorkers at risk of losing their homes as the pandemic economic pain deepens. Tenants missing their rent payments during this deadly pandemic are protected if they can prove financial hardship when summoned to court. The legislature by the state, passed a law in June 2020 preventing poor tenants from being removed from their homes because of the pending rent during the Covid-19 period, although they remaining liable to pay back deferred rents.
A Fair Ban?
It is just not enough to cancel the rent, as both the tenants and their landlords in NYC need financial help to sustain themselves while preventing the city’s economy from collapsing. Thousands of tenants in New York, who were at a risk of becoming homeless for non-payment of rent, secured another sign of mercy from Governor Cuomo who signed an order to extend the eviction moratorium drafted in March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The earlier order expired at midnight on Aug. 5 and Cuomo extends it to September 4. At a conference call with reporters Cuomo explained that the order reinforces legislation ratified earlier in that year, banning any evictions due to economic hardship suffered because of the pandemic and also stated that there would be no evictions as long as this epidemic continues and the Governor formally declares the health crisis has ended.
Mayor de Blasio calls on DC for rent relief
Over 14,000 rental households in New York City risk losing their homes, as per Mayor Bill de Blasio. Many lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic as 1.3 million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment insurance since the pandemic began in March. Many NYC tenants could not make their rent payments due to such circumstances, and shouldn’t lose their homes too. It’s not their fault as they never wanted a global pandemic. But without a pay-check, and no source of income, how do you pay the rent? Advocates across New York City have requested government to cancel rents and/or provide monetary relief to renters in arrears and those in danger being evicted. The city offers some tenants rental grants to help make payments, but apart from an extended eviction moratorium, no long-term solution to the rent crisis has emerged.
The Mayor says that extending the ban on eviction was only half the solution, and appealed to Congress and the POTUS to include a more robust rental assistance plan in the new COVID-19 monetary relief package but expressed pessimism over lack of progress. The best solution from Washington, DC, involves rental assistance to all who lost their jobs to keep their homes, and landlords to have money to maintain their buildings but with the situation up in Washington at the moment, this seemed impossible. The mayor requested the local governments to enact legislations enabling the landlords to start a more agreeable payment plan model so that tenants can pay off their back-logged rents over time and would not end up losing their homes. He urged New Yorkers facing eviction to call 311 for assistance.