For months now, landlords have been expecting the end of COVID-19-related eviction protections for renters - so far, to no avail. As deadlines appear to be pushed forward yet again, we take the opportunity to dive into the potential eviction crisis faced by landlords and renters, and what you can expect in the coming months.
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What's the Current State of the Eviction Moratorium in NYC?
Once states began instating stay-at-home orders in 2020, most also implemented eviction moratoriums. The moratoriums were initially intended to compensate for the fact that tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result, could no longer afford to pay rent.
As conditions of the eviction moratoriums, residents who needed rent relief needed to provide landlords with evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted their finances, and agree they would repay rent owed once the moratorium was over.
Now, more than a year after most states implemented eviction moratoriums, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an extension of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020, preventing evictions from taking place until August 31, 2021.
Additionally, on June 29, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a nationwide eviction moratorium implemented by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would stay in effect a month longer than planned, until July 31, 2021.
These rulings came as a relief to many renters - according to sources such as the Aspen Institute, as many as 30-40 million Americans could face financial insecurity or homelessness once the moratorium lifts as a result of missed rent payments. However for landlords - particularly smaller landlords - that have gone over a year without rent, the decision to extend the moratorium was heavily protested.
Last but not least, the eviction moratorium for areas experiencing a "substantial transmission" of COVID-19 was extended yet again by the CDC, making the new eviction deadline October 3, 2021. However, this extension does come with more caveats than previous extensions:
- It only applies to areas currently being impacted by the virus (with "substantial transmission") - you can check to see if your county qualifies for substantial transmission using the CDC's data tracker here;
- Renters must expect to report less than $99,000 in income for 2020 or would become homeless or forced to "live in close quarters" if evicted to be protected;
- Renters must have used their "best efforts" to make rental payments up to this point.
As with previous eviction moratorium extensions, landlords are expected to fight this extension in court, but it remains to be seen whether they will be successful or not.
Can Renters Be Evicted At All?
Renters can still be evicted during the pandemic, just not for financial reasons if they've been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and can provide their landlord with evidence supporting that claim. If a resident harms their property or causes a danger to other residents, for example, they could be evicted.
What happens from here remains to be seen. States such as California have implemented plans to use state funds to repay missed rent for residents who fall below a certain income level, but whether New York will implement a similar strategy remains to be seen. The CDC has claimed that the last few eviction moratoriums have primarily been intended to give the government more time to roll out federal rent relief to applicable tenants, but with the majority of $1.7 billion in federal rental assistance still unsupplied, it remains to be seen whether these moratorium extensions are actually achieving that goal.
As we move into fall, expect to see landlords and residents alike protesting efforts to extend or end the moratorium (respectively).
At Letterio & Haug, we can help you with your real estate case. Contact us online or via phone at (845) 203-0997 to schedule a consultation with our team.