Albany, NY – Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) announces that the Senate voted to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium for New Yorkers until January 15, 2022. New York State has failed to disseminate the federal dollars to landlords from the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CERAP). Because of this delay, an extension is necessary to ensure that New Yorkers don’t lose their homes in a pandemic.
Additionally, the legislation passed will extend the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, the eviction and foreclosure moratorium for small businesses, expand CERAP, and extend virtual meetings for state and local government.
This legislation will:
- Extend the residential and commercial eviction and foreclosure moratoria to January 15, 2022.
- Allow residents of localities that opted out of the statewide program to apply for financial assistance through the State program if their locality has exhausted all of its funds.
- Expand the eviction protections in the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CERAP) to residents of localities that have applied for assistance through a program administered by a locality that opted out of the statewide program.
- Add a nuisance standard to CERAP’s eviction protections to provide landlords with a basis to start an eviction proceeding against a covered tenant if a tenant is a nuisance or has inflicted substantial damage to a property.
- Create a due process mechanism for landlords to challenge the Hardship Declaration submitted by residential and commercial tenants and for banks and mortgage holders to challenge the Declaration submitted by property owners to avoid foreclosure, and direct judges to require residential tenants to apply for CERAP if their hardship claim is valid.
- Authorize the Office of Court Administration (OCA) to access limited CERAP application information in order to allow the court to determine whether to stay an eviction proceeding.
- Extend the period covered by the Tenant Safe Harbor Act to January 15, 2022.
- Increase the appropriation for CERAP from $2.35 billion to $2.6 billion and amend the appropriation to allow these funds to be allocated to residents of localities that opted out of the Statewide program.
- Increase the Hardship Fund from $100 million to $250 million and provide for the fund to be used for tenants whose incomes are between 80% -120% AMI, landlords whose tenants vacated their property with rent unpaid, and landlords whose tenants are unresponsive or uncooperative.
- Provide a new $25 million appropriation to fund legal services for tenants facing evictions.
- Additionally, authorize any state or local public body to hold virtual public meetings until January 15, 2022.
Those who apply for CERAP are automatically protected while their application is still pending. Tenants whose CERAP application is approved, receive various protections including 12 months of eviction protection. Any New Yorker at risk of being evicted is encouraged to submit a claim — it is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones at this time. Senator May’s office stands ready to guide constituents through the process. Additionally, Governor Hochul will be sending increased community liaisons to neighborhoods, who will be able and willing to assist residents with their applications. To get started on your claim, please visit: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance/
If you reside in Onondaga County, please use this link to start your claim: https://ongovrenthelp.com/
“The previous administration failed to get CERAP funding out to landlords and tenants in a timely manner,” said Senator Rachel May. “We now have hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who face possible eviction while COVID cases are on the rise again. It is our duty to ensure that the money designated for rental assistance gets to the people who need it, and the only way to do that now is through an extension. I am confident that Governor Hochul will make this a priority.”