New York eviction moratorium hurting many landlords

The state-imposed moratorium on evictions intended to help tenants avoid homelessness during the pandemic....is hurting many landlords.

Posted: Feb 18, 2021 5:58 PM
Updated: Feb 18, 2021 6:24 PM

The state-imposed moratorium on evictions intended to help tenants avoid homelessness during the pandemic is hurting many landlords, some who haven't been paid for nearly a year.

"My tenants don't have a hardship. They just are refusing to pay me right now and they have sent me text messages saying they won't pay and they won't leave until COVID tells them they can leave," says landlord, Anne Sullivan, of Utica.

Sullivan and several other local landlords have the same issue: tenants whose circumstances haven't changed and who are not suffering a pandemic-related hardship, but, knowing they can't be evicted, simply stop paying rent. Elected leaders are not immune to the losses.

"A hardship is a hardship and I get that and I've worked with people here who've had an inability to pay and have let us know and have kept us in the loop and things like that, that's one thing. But when someone completely just ignores you because they feel as though they can," says landlord, Tim Julian, who is also an Oneida County legislator. "Just simply refuse to pay because they heard what they wanted to hear which is, 'you don't have to pay.'"

For those who own multiple properties, the losses are substantial.

"When somebody owes you one month's rent or two month's rent or three month's rent, that's one thing, it's a loss. But when somebody owes you a year's worth of rent, it turns into thousands of dollars, $10,000 one person owes you and you have 12 of them, it's a fast track to be out of business," says Bob Donnelly, a Utica landlord who owns 84 housing units. "It's like, get free rent on the landlords and there's no subsidy for landlords. It's like we're forgotten."

There is a tenant relief fund, but tenants who can't prove a pandemic-related hardship aren't eligible. That's why some state lawmakers are trying to give landlords access to that money.

"As we look at the federal funding that is coming forward, I have asked, with my colleagues, that that funding go through a certain process to ensure landlords are included," says Assemblywoman, Marianne Buttenschon, D-119.

Until then, landlords wait for the courts to start hearing eviction proceedings again, so they can move the non-paying tenants. But many aren't confident they'll ever see the money the tenants owe.

"We're walking away here from tens of thousands of dollars because we're never gonna see it from these tenants. This is all over and we do have the opportunity to evict, the tenants are gonna go and we're never gonna see anything from them again," says Julian.

Cuomo has extended the moratorium through May 1.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2514422

Reported Deaths: 56038
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33302810840
Queens31485510285
Suffolk2388013596
Nassau2139053290
Bronx2073266748
New York1677674635
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Monroe838301183
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Broome24233404
Niagara23884397
Saratoga20111198
Ulster17224278
Schenectady16592227
Rensselaer14692167
Putnam1244896
Chautauqua12318174
Oswego11556112
Chemung10798154
St. Lawrence10424126
Steuben10037173
Ontario9296110
Jefferson874874
Cayuga8613107
Sullivan843183
Wayne810384
Cattaraugus7622113
Genesee6945132
Herkimer6741128
Clinton666538
Tompkins647559
Fulton6258102
Madison6138102
Montgomery5890139
Livingston568071
Warren540782
Cortland531379
Tioga503671
Columbia4984111
Chenango465786
Allegany457196
Washington456467
Otsego454154
Greene435386
Wyoming434958
Orleans429487
Franklin423320
Lewis357138
Delaware352947
Seneca272563
Schoharie227721
Essex226831
Yates161028
Schuyler152417
Hamilton4353
Unassigned14826
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