Cuomo, state legislature to re-up on the eviction moratorium until May

Mark Hallum

By Mark Hallum

Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would be extending the residential housing eviction moratorium until May by executive order as well as through an agreement with the state legislature.

Making the announcement Monday, Cuomo believes further closures of the economy will not be necessary at this time hoping to use testing as an apparatus to reopening businesses and keeping them open going into 2021.

“We’ve been working with [lawmakers] on a piece of legislation that will also extend the eviction moratorium. We want to make sure that homeowners are protected, that it doesn’t affect their credit rating. There’s no mortgage foreclosure,” Cuomo said. “We want to get to May 1, we’ll see what happens by May, but we want to protect tenants, we want to make it simple. We don’t want people evicted, we don’t want them to have to go to court to fight the eviction.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced Sunday that he would be calling lawmakers back to the chamber on Monday for a vote on the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020.

“Far too many of our friends and neighbors struggled to find safe, affordable housing before COVID-19 hit our state. Now, more and more families are struggling financially through no fault of their own, and are worried about losing their roof over their head in the winter during a pandemic,” Heastie said. “Smaller landlords who use a second unit or apartment to pay their bills have been put between a rock and a hard place with the loss of rental income due to COVID-19. Federal aid for rental assistance in the latest stimulus bill must be used to ease the rental burden on tenants who are in arrears and small mom and pop landlords who rent apartments to put food on their tables.”

In the senate chamber, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins claimed the new supermajority would also pass what she describes as the strongest moratorium on evictions in the country which will give tenants 60 days to plead hardship 60 days to halt any proceeding filed in the last 30 days after submitting a declaration of hardship.

“The bill advanced by the Senate Majority will help ensure New York tenants, homeowners, and small landlords will not have to fear being kicked out of their homes if they’ve been impacted by this pandemic and economic crisis,” Stewart-Cousins said. “I commend Senate Housing Committee Chair, Senator Brian Kavanagh for his leadership on this issue, and my Senate Majority colleagues for taking this historic action. We will continue to lead New York State forward during this crisis and provide real relief to help New Yorkers in need.”

Senator Brian Kavanagh, representing Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, was credited with moving the legislation forward in the senate. Under the law, tenants can submit a Standardized Hardship Declaration Form to their landlord to either halt  or delay the eviction.

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we have understood that housing security must be an essential part of our effort to protect the health and wellbeing of all New Yorkers. By enacting this comprehensive residential eviction and foreclosure moratorium, we are delivering real protection for countless renters and homeowners who would otherwise be at risk of losing their homes, adding to the unprecedented hardship that so many are facing.”

Cuomo placed a moratorium on housing evictions early on in the COVID-19 pandemic in order to prevent New Yorkers from having to overload housing courts, as well as widespread homelessness, as a number of industries were put on pause in the interest of stopping the spread.

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