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Eviction crisis looms as state, federal moratoriums end: Billions in rent relief not reaching landlords, tenants

Two major eviction moratoriums are ending in New York and that could prompt a housing or eviction crisis, advocates say. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had an eviction moratorium active through October 3, 2021, a statewide measure in New York is active until August 31, 2021.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the CDC eviction moratorium- and a special legislative session of state Assembly and Senate would be necessary to extend New York’s eviction moratorium.

Renters are feeling the burn, as the clock ticks on protections, which prevented tenants from being evicted if they claimed a financial hardship caused by the pandemic. Landlord advocacy groups have said throughout the pandemic that the eviction moratorium has been used illicitly by renters to avoid paying their share.

“I am very disappointed in the Supreme Court’s appalling and insensitive ruling that eliminates a key line of defense for tenants facing housing insecurity during the ongoing pandemic, and we are exploring all options to further protect New Yorkers from eviction, including with the legislative leaders,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement this week. She took office on Tuesday at midnight after former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned amid sexual harassment and workplace intimidation accusations.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Complicating matters is that rent relief – intended to help tenants and landlords hard hit by the pandemic – was earmarked by the federal government and passed down to New York State. In fact, over a billion dollars was allocated for the state’s effort in offering financial assistance to both. But a little over $110 million had been handed out to date, according to a scathing report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.

“I am not at all satisfied with the pace that this COVID relief is getting out the door,” Hochul said after taking office. “I want the money out now, I want it out with no more excuses or delays.”

Susan Griffith, who’s a managing attorney at Legal Services of CNY said that if nothing changes in the next week – the floodgates will open on evictions in September.

More recently, a report from the New York Times showed that rent relief funds have been slow to go out across the country. In fact, around 89% of rental assistance funds have not been distributed across the country, as tens of billions sit unused days before eviction moratoriums expire.