More than a year after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first executive order during the pandemic related to evictions- the Finger Lakes Landlord Association says local landlords need help.
While the executive order was intended to safeguard renters and their families during the pandemic- and understood by landlords, according to the FLLA, the mandate has been extended four times creating major hardships.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also extended the eviction moratorium, but that has less play in New York State than Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency order.
Deb Hall, of the Finger Lakes Landlord Association says that a lifeline was handed down by the federal government in form of more than a billion dollars to provide rent relief. “The money has stalled in Albany for over three months, passing through both Senate and Assembly housing committees, only to be recently swept into the state budget process,” Hall said in a release.
The landlord association says that the rent relief would help small, ‘Ma and Pop’ landlords that have been struggling during the pandemic.
Sen. Pam Helming recently said the money was being held hostage and needed to be moved into the hands’ of those who need it most. “This money is being held hostage to the budgetary process,” she explained. “The Governor needs to take real action onw to streamline this process for both the tenants and the landlords to get this money out the door,” she continued.
The state budget became late on April 1, after the three entities involved- the Assembly, Senate, and Governor’s office failed to reach a deal. A number of issues stood in the way.
There’s urgency with this rent relief money, though. If not utilized by September 2021- the funds will be sent back to the federal government, officials noted.
Hall says that landlords and tenants remain at an impasse. “There are some landlords in the region who are reporting over $50,000 in past due rents,” she added. “That is unsustainable to any small business, let alone one that has been forced to provide services without compensation or due process for more than a year.”
The Finger Lakes Landlord Association represents 147 landlords across the region- and represents more than 4,000 units of rental housing. David Lane, who serves as chairman of the FLLA Board called for speedy action.
“We need the governor and legislature to pass this bill today,” he said. “We need our tenants to be able to apply for long past due rent payments so we can then pay for the expenses where our tenants live.”
Property taxes, water bills, and basic property maintenance and improvements have been put off due to these issues, the group added.