Advocates Predict Surge In Evictions When Courts Reopen

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BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — In New York, no one can be evicted before August 20th.

“Well what happens on August 20th? You know what, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen two, three months down the road, but I can tell you, whatever happens, we will handle it at the time,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a briefing, and added that’s what the state has been doing since the coronavirus outbreak started.

However, advocates for both renters and landlords predict eviction courts to be busy.

“The courts are going to be insane when they reopen,” said Amber Johnson, Community Organizer with Citizen Action of New York. “They’re going to be flooded with evictions that happen all the time.”

All the time under normal circumstances, but, according to the latest numbers from the Labor Department, 36.5 million people filed for unemployment in the past eight weeks and people continue losing their jobs.

(Sarah Gager/WSKG)

For many, this is the first time they have had to file for unemployment. Those are the people Johnson said she is connecting with the most because they may not know their rights as tenants.

“They’ve been reaching out to me, and it’s like, ‘Wow, I never had to feel this way. I didn’t know what it felt like to have to apply for unemployment. I didn’t know what it felt like to have homelessness creeping up my back.’”

Johnson recommends tenants negotiate with their landlords.

In April, some New York State Senators called on the federal government to put money toward emergency housing and rental assistance.