New York Passes Bill Extending Eviction Moratorium to January
Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents some 25,000 landlords of rent-stabilized units and had sued over the previous eviction moratorium, said the group would consider suing over the new moratorium, too. But how it responds will depend on how hard the law will make challenging tenants’ claims of hardship. Mr. Strasburg also said the state should be focused on paying landlords through the rent relief program.
“We don’t want to litigate this,” he said of the moratorium. “It’s a waste of money and it’s a waste of time when we should be focusing our energies on how to get the money out.”
Still, the agreement on a new moratorium was a major victory for tenant advocates. Cea Weaver, campaign coordinator for Housing Justice for All, said that Mr. Cuomo’s resignation and the two Supreme Court rulings represented a “perfect storm” for tenants in New York. But she called the agreement a “big win.”
“I hope it’s going to set the tone for the new administration,” she said.
Republican lawmakers, however, described the extension as the latest attempt by Democrats to vilify landlords and infringe on their property rights, arguing that tenants, whom some lawmakers described as lazy, were gaming the moratorium to avoid paying rent. Some predicted that Democrats would extend the moratorium again in January, because 2022 is an election year.
“I think we’re sending the wrong message to society by not, at the very least, providing stronger mechanisms to make sure those who can afford to pay rent and who are gaming this system should be held accountable,” said Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Long Island. “It’s not fair. It’s not right. I don’t think it’s good politics at all.”
But with Democrats in control of both chambers, the extension prevailed by a vote of 38 to 19 in the Senate and 80 to 60 in the Assembly.
The sluggish pace of rent relief, and the Supreme Court’s ruling on the federal eviction moratorium, have placed new urgency on state and local officials to create a patchwork of their own policies across the nation, said Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project, which advocates for low-income tenants and has filed briefs defending moratoriums in several court cases.