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Cuomo extends eviction moratorium, but renters advocates say it's not enough

Patrick Moussignac
Updated: September 29, 2020 11:15 PM
Created: September 29, 2020 09:52 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is further protecting renters from being evicted from their homes due to non-payment of rent during this pandemic. This week he announced a new moratorium that runs until January 2021. News10NBC heard from both an advocate that protects renters, and from a landlord.

For some, Cuomo's extension of the Tenant Safe Harbor Act doesn't go far enough to keep millions across the state from losing their homes when the pandemic comes to an end.

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Rochester's Metro Justice has been fighting for tenants' rights for years now. Lead Organizer Mohini Sharma told News10NBC, Gov. Cuomo's extension of the Tenant Safe Harbor Act is an important step, but it isn't nearly enough to protect New Yorkers that can no longer afford their rent.

"Even if that prevents eviction landlords actually can still pursue a money judgement for recouping rent for missed payments even though people are still facing job loss, and loss of income because of the pandemic," Sharma said.

Advocates like Sharma are calling on Cuomo to implement a year-long prohibition on evictions and cancel rent and mortgages all together during this period.

"We deserve to know that we will not have to scramble to pay rent, or utilities, or risk evictions and start off with more than just a week's notice. So making a yearlong eviction moratorium will allow New Yorkers to have the stability that they need to really get through this pandemic," Sharma said.

Joseph Hanna is the Managing Partner of Hanna Properties, and has almost 400 apartments in Rochester. Hanna says the moratorium is bad for business.

"If landlords are not collecting their rent they certainly cannot maintain their properties, pay taxes and implement the other measures necessary to provide safe housing for our residents," Hanna said.

He says both he, and his colleagues are burdened by a large tax increase set by the City of Rochester this year.

"No landlord I know wants to evict a tenant, but on the other hand, empty units are not helping us in our business goals, and our obligations to residents," Hanna said.

He also says landlords are trying to work out payment plans with their tenants as well as providing other assistance.

"I and many of the other landlords have distributed information as to what programs are available to tenants," Hanna said.

Cuomo's first moratorium on evictions was back in March, and then another one at the end of June. Part of one of his executive orders also allowed renters to use their security deposit as rent, and repay the deposit over time.


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