Landlords, tenants navigating the extension of eviction moratorium in New York

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an extension to the state’s eviction moratorium Tuesday. The moratorium now lasts until the end of August.

The moratorium provides eviction protections for tenants who have been financially hurt by the pandemic. This comes amid growing calls to help landlords who are also feeling the impact of the last year.  

Rich Tyson, a real estate broker and local housing provider, says the extension of the moratorium means landlords take a hit. 

“At the beginning of last year, I owned 37 properties with approximately 95 units in it. That number will probably end up being 7 units with 23 units in it by the end of this year,” Tyson said. 

With less money coming in from rent payments, Tyson has had to sell some of his properties. He says they often go to companies that aren’t in the area. 

“I don’t love the idea of absentee providers, they’re not people who engage in the community, they’re not driving by the properties they own, they’re not taking what little profits they may be making and putting them back into either revitalizing neighborhoods where they own existing property or just going to Wegmans or the butcher down the street, they’re exporting those profits and wealth,” Tyson said. 

Tyson also said when tenants don’t pay, there’s a rippling effect. 

“There’s a lot of proactive maintenance we’re not able to stay on top of for good tenants that are paying rent because we’re suffering the losses on other properties. People think that there is a big margin on rental properties and there’s not,” he said. 

Others are happy state lawmakers extended the moratorium. 

“The pandemic has definitely been very hard on a lot of folks in the community, a lot of tenants, a lot of small landlords. So extending this moratorium is very important to the tenants because some of them are still trying to get by. People are still trying to get back into the groove of things now with vaccinations happening,” said Barbara Rivera, Lead Tenant Organizer for the City-Wide Tenant Union.

Rivera says the extension allows tenants to keep their homes, while figuring things out. 

“I have spoken to tenants where they said, if it wasn’t for this moratorium, I probably wouldn’t have had time to go find a job.” Rivera said. 

Once the moratorium is lifted, tenants are expected to pay back rent in full. 

“I feel like it’s setting people up for failure. It’s setting people up for a lot of hardships. It’s bad enough that you know, we already have evictions and things like that going on for tenants backgrounds, so when landlords do background checks it’s going to affect them,” Rivera said. 

Tyson says the government hasn’t done much to help landlords during the pandemic. 

“Often times the housing providers are not eligible for PPP because if we don’t have payroll, and a lot of us don’t, especially younger investors, we’re kind of volunteering to do this. We buy these properties, we get them renovated, we get them occupied, we take what little profits come out, we try to replicate that, in the hopes that someday down the road the mortgages are paid and then we can kind of experience that income,” Tyson said. 

Tyson also says he doesn’t want to evict residents, but he does want to get paid. 

“Housing providers want to keep people in houses. That’s the entire reason we do it. I have never met an investor that says I want to buy a bunch of houses, throw everybody out on the street and leave them vacant. It’s not the reality,” he said. 

New York’s current moratorium from May 1 to August 31.  It allows a temporary stay on most tenant evictions for at least 60 days. Tenants do have to submit a form declaring financial hardship and/or job loss due to the pandemic.

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