ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill that will extend the state’s eviction moratorium through Jan. 15 on Thursday, following its approval by the state Legislature in a special session called by the governor to reactivate the law after it expired earlier this week.
“The pandemic has created unimaginable anxiety for families and business owners who have lost income and are struggling to pay the rent every month,” said Hochul in a statement.
“To help remedy the Supreme Court’s heartless decisions striking down the New York and the Biden administration’s moratoriums on evictions, we are enacting a new moratorium on residential and commercial evictions and extending the protections of New York’s Safe Harbor Act to January 15. These steps will alleviate the crisis facing vulnerable New Yorkers who are suffering through no fault of their own.”
The governor and legislative leaders added several million dollars to the program and changed a portion of the legislation struck down in a recent US Supreme Court ruling following an emergency filing by landlord groups who argued the law unfairly favored tenant’s COVID-19 hardship claims.
The new law builds in additional protections for landlords in court, seeking to challenge tenant claims that they suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic.
However, the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 small landlords and building managers throughout the five boroughs, said Thursday that the amendments are not enough to satisfy the issues raised in their prior suit and they plan on filing a motion with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to block enforcement of the law after Labor Day.
“Making a few language changes to the prior law – whatever the Legislature could get passed on short notice – doesn’t make it a new law. It’s still unconstitutional, it still denies landlords due process rights, and it still tramples on property rights. We have always contended that Albany plays politics – and this reckless and ineffective ploy disguised as a law is proof of that,” said Joe Strasburg, the group’s president.
Meanwhile, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance — the agency tasked with distributing federal rental relief dollars through the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program — said as of Aug. 31 an additional $100 million has been distributed to individuals who have applied for program assistance and been approved to receive funding.
Just over $300 million has been paid out of the now $2.85 billion program, but still another $924 million has been approved but has yet to go out the door to qualified individuals.