Hochul Extends Eviction Moratorium in New York to Keep Families Safe During the Pandemic

Photo: (Photo : Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Families in New York will not lose their homes and remain safe in the pandemic, as Gov. Kathy Hochul has extended the eviction moratorium until January 15, 2022.

In a statement, Hochul said she had signed the new moratorium under the New York's Safe Harbor Act for residential and commercial renters "to remedy" the previous Supreme Court decision that would have ended the moratorium this September.

Hochul, who was inaugurated in her role as governor in late August, has also urged New Yorkers who are having a hard time with rent to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Families who qualify may acquire more eviction protection for at least a full year while the assistance is under process.

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However, Hochul and the legislators also added protection for landlords losing income from tenants who claim financial hardships because of COVID-19. The landlords may now contest these claims in court if they apply for the government's newly approved $25 million legal services funds.

More Time for Rent Relief Distribution

New York first enacted the eviction moratorium in late 2020. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the order in early 2021, citing that families still have a significant need for safety at home as the public health crisis continues.

The new moratorium will also allow the state to distribute rent relief as over $2 billion in funds have not moved for months. According to Curb, just seven percent of the ERAP fund has been disbursed as of August.

In her first week as governor, Hochul said more awareness and marketing about the rent relief program would be done. If needed, government workers could go "door-to-door" to inform tenants to apply for assistance. Of the 800,000 tenants across the state who have struggled to pay rent, only 176,000 families have applied for rent relief.

Commissioner Mike Hein of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the agency handling the ERAP rollout, said they are taking steps to fix glitches and streamline the system to "expedite the application process." He also encouraged eligible New Yorkers to apply. Consequently, even landlords may apply for the benefit if they want to help out their tenants. 

To learn more about ERAP, visit the official site.

Eviction Moratorium in the Other States

Nationally, most of America no longer has the moratorium in effect since the Supreme Court shut down the program in late August because rent relief processing has been slow, and non-payment of rents impacted the housing market. This means that despite the Delta variant surge, over 11 million residents could soon be homeless if they won't be able to settle with their landlords.

However, apart from New York, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey have extended their moratorium until January 2022 as well, while Illinois and California will keep theirs in effect until September 19 and September 30, respectively.

New Mexico also plans to extend the moratorium but has not yet announced the expiration date. Minnesota, Oregon, and Nevada have pending applications for federal rental assistance funding, facilitating some protection against eviction.

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