Cuomo: Pause On Evictions Extended Through 2020

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NEW YORK NOW – Landlords in New York will not be allowed to evict their tenants for nonpayment of rent until the start of next year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, setting up a reprieve for renters who’ve been unable to pay rent for the last several months due to the pandemic.

But the order from the Cuomo administration will also place more pressure on landlords, who’ve still been required to pay operating expenses on their properties during the COVID-19 crisis.

State court officials in New York had previously barred eviction proceedings from moving forward until Oct. 1. Cuomo’s order, announced Monday, appears to extend a pause on eviction proceedings, and therefore evictions, through Jan. 1.

“I want people to have fundamental stability in their lives,” Cuomo said. “Nobody’s going to be evicted because of housing.”

The order is separate from a federal moratorium on evictions, which is also set to run through the end of the year. It was announced in September by President Donald Trump, and essentially required tenants to prove they couldn’t pay rent because of conditions caused by the pandemic.

New York has also barred evictions for commercial tenants, but that’s only in place through Oct. 20 at this point. That could change as the state approaches that date.

Some Democrats in the state Legislature have called on their colleagues, and Cuomo, to approve legislation to “cancel rent,” meaning tenants could waive their rent payments altogether. Some of those proposals would offer funding to landlords to offset the cost.

That’s different than what’s allowed under the current law, and executive orders from Cuomo. As of now, rent can be delayed. But it can’t be forgiven, meaning that tenants will owe any rent they haven’t paid by the beginning of next year.

Some have predicted that New York could face a major housing crisis when that happens, since tenants may not be able to pay months of back rent up front.

Landlord groups have said they’ll work with tenants as much as possible, but that they’re facing their own costs due to nonpayment of rent. Their revenues have been depleted, in some cases, while their costs, largely, haven’t changed.

Some lawmakers have planned a return to Albany to address the issue, but so far, no plans have been announced.

Dan Clark is host/producer of New York Now.