Hochul Asks Feds for Rent Money as NY Eviction Moratorium Expires

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New York state’s eviction moratorium will expire on Saturday, Jan. 15., Gov. Kathy Hochul confirmed on Tuesday.

Hochul said at a Tuesday press conference that she and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, among others, would be issuing an open letter to President Joe Biden calling for federal funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to be replenished. That portal allows eligible tenants to apply for aid.

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“[In September 2021], we talked about giving people a little more breathing room, giving them just a little more relief on a short-term basis, and that went all the way until Jan. 15,” Hochul said. “What we want to do is let people know that [ERAP funding] is concluding very shortly, having conversations with the legislature on what to do on this issue. But, also, there is another option which is reopening the portal, which is going to have the same effect in terms of allowing people to take advantage of a situation if they are not able to pay their rent.”

New York’s eviction moratorium has been met with opposition from the time Hochul announced a new strategy. Prior to August 2021, New Yorkers facing eviction could file a declaration in court claiming that they had lost income due to the COVID pandemic and this would put a stay on the proceedings.

Then in August, however, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down this option, claiming that it denied landlords due process in the matter. By September, the legislature came up with a new moratorium that allowed landlords to challenge the claims of a tenant.

“What I don’t want to do is create false expectations. We can open a portal, people can sign up, but that also hinges on the federal government doing what we want them to do, which is allocate more money to this pot,” Hochul concluded. “It’s just not a simple answer.”

According to Hochul, about $978 million in eviction prevention funding had been left over from other states which the Hochul administration had requested in order to meet up to $1 billion in claims from tenants. New York will only get $27 million of that money, the governor found out this week.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.