North Country lawmaker says eviction moratorium extension hurts small-property owners

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Evictions loom for renters as moratorium expiration nears

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — This week, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul extended the statewide eviction moratorium through early next year. However local lawmakers are issuing their concerns.

A major focus for Senator Patty Ritchie, R-NY, is the impact the moratorium will have on local landlords, commonly referred to as “mom and pop” landlords. Senator Ritchie said that the eviction moratorium is causing small-property owners to suffer.

“Every day, my office hears from small-property owners who are suffering due to the state’s eviction moratorium and stalled rent relief rollout. In many instances, those who reach out for help depend solely on rental income to pay their bills and put food on the table,” Sen. Ritchie said in a press release. “[On September 1], these property owners suffered another blow, thanks to the Democrats’ extension of the eviction moratorium until January 15. of next year.”

This extension permits anyone who resides in a locality that opted out of the state’s program to administer their own rental assistance program, to apply to the state program when local funds are exhausted. Residents applying directly to their local programs will now also automatically benefit from the state’s more expansive eviction protections.

Additionally, the extension also creates a $25 million fund to provide legal services to tenants facing  eviction proceedings and to help them maintain housing stability. Under the moratorium, tenant are required to submit a hardship declaration, explaining the source of the hardship.

However, landlords who believe that their tenant has not suffered a financial hardship will be permitted to request a court hearting. Evictions are also permitted if tenants are creating safety or health hazards for other tenants, intentionally damaging property and if a tenant did not submit a hardship declaration.

According to the Governor’s Office, the legislation also places a moratorium on residential foreclosure proceedings so that homeowners and small landlords who own 10 or fewer residential dwellings can file hardship declarations with their mortgage lender, other foreclosing party, or a court that would prevent a foreclosure.

To further address her concerns, Sen. Ritchie instead offered an alternative to the eviction moratorium. She said the focus should be on distributing relief to tenants.

“Instead of yet another extension of the eviction moratorium, Democrats should instead be laser focused on distributing billions in critical rent relief to tenants and property owners via the Emergency Rental Assistance Program,” she added. “For months now, my colleagues and I have been calling for an expedited release of these funds. This relief is long overdue, and we need to ensure it gets to struggling tenants and property owners as soon as possible.”

The New York State eviction moratorium was extended on September 1 during a special session held by the state legislature. The moratorium was set to officially expire in the state at midnight on August 31, but lawmakers voted 38-19 to extend it to January 15, 2021.

Governor Kathy Hochul then signed off on the moratorium on September 2, 2021.

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