ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — The State Legislature is set to vote on whether to extend the eviction moratorium Monday.
Now, both landlords and tenants are concerned about what’s next.
“A lifting of the moratorium would be absolutely devastating,” said Lisle Coleman, a volunteer with the Rochester City-Wide Tenants Union. “The state’s rental assistant program is not even in place yet.”
The moratorium was put in place to help struggling tenants who have been hurt financially by the pandemic.
While it’s provided much-needed relief for many families, it’s also hurt landlords who aren’t getting rent checks.
“It’s crushing us at this point, to be honest,” said Rich Tyson, a landlord in Rochester.
If the moratorium is lifted, the Rochester City-Wide Tenants Union says it could put more people out on the street.
“Without this moratorium, the tenants are going to be homeless and we don’t want that because we already have an enormous amount of homeless folks already that are living in our shelters,” said Barbara River, Lead Tenant Organizer with City-Wide Tenants Union.
But if it’s extended and people aren’t paying rent or are late on checks, Tyson says it makes it hard on landlords.
“It effectively functions like an enormous vacancy, but the difference is I can’t refill the vacancy because there’s still somebody in that unit,” Tyson said.
He also said it makes it hard on other tenants who are paying rent.
“If I am losing all my rent on a few units, that’s money that’s not paying for that unit and then that overflow can’t get put into proactive repair and maintenance for my good tenants who are paying,” Tyson said. “I have good tenants who are frustrated.”
Rivera the pandemic has made it hard for families to keep up with rent, especially when they need to put food on the table.
“I know a lot of folks are saying, ‘you know, what are tenants using their stimulus checks on?’ And you know, people are using it to survive, people need food,” Rivera said.
“Tenants are the ones that are one step away from being out on the street,” Coleman said. “You know most of these evictions are from these gigantic slumlords. You’re small mom-and-pop landlords aren’t the ones who are greasing the eviction wheel.”
Tyson, who helps run 37 properties in Rochester, says he doesn’t want to evict people.
‘As a housing provider, I actually don’t want to evict people, like literally the last thing I want to do, and most of us want to do, is evict people,” he said.
The current moratorium is set to expire May 1.
If an extension is passed Monday, the moratorium would be extended until August 31.
Once the moratorium is lifted, tenants are expected to pay back all missed rent in full.