ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The federal eviction moratorium ends Saturday, July 31 but not for New York State. A separate, state-wide moratorium will extend through August 31, buying tenants a month of extra time.

Ritti Singh with Rochester City Wide Tenants Union believes massive numbers of tenants are behind on rent from this past year.

It has a lot to do with financial struggle caused by the pandemic, paired with recent skyrocketing rent prices.

“65% of people in Rochester are tenants, so already you are going to see big numbers because of that,” Singh said.

A moratorium on evictions has protected current tenants for over a year. They can simply go months without paying rent, as long as they file a declaration of hardship.

Local landlord Matt Drouin says there is confusion over New York’s extension, with the federal moratorium ending Saturday. Either way, he predicts the state moratorium will likely be extended again.

“I don’t really see an end in sight for this,” Drouin said.

On his end, the new timestamp is frustrating. He says a recent survey from Under One Roof reports among Upstate New York landlords, 67% of tenants aren’t filling out the paperwork needed for rent relief — they aren’t cooperating.

At the same time, Drouin said he’s scrambling to keep up with taxes, utilities and insurance.

“There’s information on that paperwork that’s personal, private information the landlord would not be privy to, so they need that cooperation, but over half are just blowing the landlords off,” Drouin said.

In Monroe County, those struggling are asked to apply for a joint county/city program that provides up to 12 months of back rent.

To qualify, residents’ gross monthly income must be at or below 80% of the area median income to qualify. It’s targeted towards low-income households, who have been financially impacted by the pandemic.

Singh urges these tenants to apply for the help they need, but says more long-term solutions are needed.

“The pandemic may have exposed it more but this is not a new issue,” Singh said.

Singh is advocating to pass a bill called the ‘Good Cause Evictions Protections’ — that would require landlords show there is “good cause” to evict tenants. This could include non-payment, breaking the lease or causing a nuisance. 

If you are a tenant in Monroe County, or a Rochester resident in need of rent relief, call 211 to apply. For those living outside the county, there is relief at the state level. You can apply for that by clicking on this link.