Coronavirus NY: Lawmakers extend eviction moratorium in special session

Coronavirus Update for New York
NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an emergency bill Monday, extending the state's ban on residential evictions past its January 1 deadline.

New York state lawmakers convened remotely on Monday for a special session to pass the bill.

"When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we asked New Yorkers to protect each other by staying at home. As we fight our way through the marathon this pandemic has become, we need to make sure New Yorkers still have homes to provide that protection," Governor Cuomo said. "This law adds to previous executive orders by protecting the needy and vulnerable who, through no fault of their own, face eviction during an incredibly difficult period for New York.

The bill applies to evictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, and pending evictions and those begun within a month of when the bill takes effect would be put on hold to allow people to submit a "hardship declaration" that would prevent any evictions until May 1.

"By enacting this comprehensive residential eviction and foreclosure moratorium, we are delivering real protection for countless renters and homeowners who would otherwise be at risk of losing their homes, adding to the unprecedented hardship that so many are facing," state Sen. Brian Kavanagh, a New York City Democrat and the bill's sponsor, said.

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The new law now allow tenants to simply submit a document attesting to their financial difficulties.

The bill also protects landlords who own fewer than 10 dwelling units from foreclosure or tax liens caused by their lost income.

"Enacting these critical protections will give us the opportunity to work with our federal congressional delegation and with the incoming Biden Administration to continue to craft policy and direct critical federal funding to help tenants, homeowners and especially small landlords," Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said.

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The Rent Stabilization Association, New York City's largest association of landlords, opposes the proposed legislation.

It warned Sunday that a blanket eviction moratorium without requiring proof of economic hardship would encourage thousands of employed tenants not to pay rent, push the city into bankruptcy and destroy the affordable housing infrastructure.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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