New York passes bill extending the eviction moratorium to Jan. 15

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Supporters in Albany cheered the passage of a bill to extend New York’s state moratorium on evictions to keep tenants from being kicked out for not paying rent, as well as provide aid to landlords struggling with nonpaying tenants.

On Wednesday night, the Senate and the Assembly approved the measure with Democrats offering enthusiastic support, and Republicans declaring it wasn’t enough.

“Frontpage would be easy for me to write tomorrow. It would say ‘train wreck,” declared 52nd District Republican Senator Frederick Akshar.

Skeptics kept up their objections as Democrats agreed with the plan to extend the state’s eviction moratorium until January 15th.

Critics say the program has kept small property owners from being able to kick out delinquent tenants while not being fast enough to distribute more than $2.7 billion in federal funds to help those landlords.

“The programs that are voted on here have been hurting real people, real New Yorkers,” said 54th District Republican Senator Pam Helming.

Supporters say the new bill now gives landlords more leeway in court to challenge nonpaying tenants who claim coronavirus hardship and adds another 250 million dollars for landlords even when their tenants don’t qualify or even try to apply.

“We want to make sure tenants are protected but also these small homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages,” said 56th District Democratic Senator Jeremy Cooney. “How we address that is we increase the hardship fund that landlords or property owners can directly access, without the cooperation or assistance of tenants.“

“Nothing in this legislation actually speed the process up,” exclaimed 134th District Republican Assemblyman Josh Jensen. “We are simply kicking the can down the road and delaying this to have to be renewed again.”

Democrats are also hoping Governor Hochul will provide some change too, with a faster more responsive distribution of funds for landlords and tenants. The governor has said she was dissatisfied with the speed of the program so far and some lawmakers say the state has made great strides in speeding up how fast that aid gets out.

“Under the new leadership we have in the executive branch, we’ve had assurances that we’re going to rectify those issues,” said 131st District Democratic Assemblyman Harry Bronson. “Having this additional time won’t end the program. It will allow it to continue.”