Eviction Moratorium to End on Friday in NY; Little Money Left for Struggling Tenants
By Yehudit Garmaise
Are the massive amounts of financial relief from the US federal government starting to run out?
New York’s pandemic-era moratorium that does not allow landlords to evict residential and commercial tenants who cannot or will not pay their rent is set to expire on Friday, Jan. 15, however, Gov. Kathy Hochul said this morning that the state has received $1 billion worth of claims from struggling New Yorkers.
“The federal government said it was going to set aside leftover money from other states that didn’t use it [to help tenants who could not pay their rent,” said Gov. Hochul, who explained that she asked the US Department of Treasury for more than $978 million of that money to come to New York to help that backlog [of the $1 billion in claims.]”
The governor revealed that she just found out this week that New York will be receiving for tenants who cannot pay their rent: $27 million, which falls far short of the $978 million the state requested.
“That [amount] is not going to get us over the finish line,” said Gov. Hochul. “As everyone knows, this had to be shut down at a time when the money ran out.”
Today, Gov. Hochul said she will be releasing a letter along with other government officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) of California, “to ask the federal government to replenish the coffers.”
“What I don’t want to do is to create false expectations,” said Gov. Hochul, who could not promise continued financial aid for renters.
Another way for the government to provide for New Yorkers who cannot pay their rent, the governor said, is to “re-open the portal,” which is a way for New Yorkers to apply to further delay evictions.
“People can sign up,” said governor, who said she is “very cognizant of the anxiety surrounding evictions, “but that also hinges on the federal government doing what we want them to do, which is to allocate more money to this pot of money.
“We were Number One in the nation in terms of getting out the rent relief money from a time when it was all jammed up, and it wasn’t getting out there.
“I grabbed this, and held it tight, and said, ‘Get that money out.’ And so we got out the money, and any money that has not gotten out has been set aside in reserve and committed to situations where we are trying to pair up the landlord with the tenant, and that is the only reason that money is not allocated."
In addition to releasing federal funds, the eviction moratorium expired for the rest of the country back in September 2021, however, in her first week in office as governor, Gov. Hochul led the state legislature in extending that moratorium, just for New York state, until Jan. 15, 2022.
“I convened the legislature in an extraordinary session to assess where we were in New York, as certainly the hardest hit state during this entire pandemic,” Gov. Hochul remembered. “And we talked about giving people a little more breathing room: just a little more relief on a short-term basis, and that went all the way until Jan. 15.
“That was something no other state has done, to my knowledge, and what we want people to know is: that that is concluding, very shortly.”
On Dec. 14, 2021, the New York Times reported that nearly six million jobs were added in the United States last year, when the national unemployment rate plummeted to a very low 4.2%, which is very close to where the unemployment rate stood before the pandemic hit.
In New York City, however, the unemployment rate of 9.4% is more than double the national average, and its decline in recent months was largely caused by employees who chose to leave their jobs.