Residential tenants paying rent (or maybe not)

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

New York’s rent relief site goes live — without applications​

New site has information on rental relief program​

It’s live: After a month-long wait, information about New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program appeared on the website for the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
The page includes details on eligibility for the program, benefits and the necessary application materials, but skips a key detail: when the program will actually launch. The site says applications will be accepted “soon.”
The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which runs the program, had previously said applications would open sometime in May.
view
view

State lawmakers approved the $2.4 billion program in early April as a part of New York’s budget for fiscal year 2022. The program allots federal funds to the landlords of tenants who have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic.

According to ODTA’s webpage, rental relief funds will go to priority applicants during the first 30 days of the portal’s launch. Households making at most 50 percent of the area median income that include a member who’s experienced additional hardship, such as 90 days of unemployment, will be eligible first.

To apply, landlords must provide a W-9 form, their tenant’s lease, the amount of back rent owed and banking information. Renters must provide identification, a Social Security number if they have one and proof of rent owed, residency and income. Both parties will need to sign the application form to receive arrears.

Benefits include up to 12 months of rental arrears, 12 months of utility arrears and 3 months of additional assistance if the applicant expects to spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent.
The program does not say if funds will be released to tenants or owners, a discrepancy between new federal guidelines and the state’s rules that were hammered out last month.

An analysis by the Legal Aid Society this week found New York is one of only eight states without an operational rent relief program. The release named five neighboring states with programs “up and running,” and called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to launch the program immediately.
“Legislation establishing New York’s Rent Relief Program was passed along with the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, and that was roughly six weeks ago,” said Judith Goldiner, Legal Aid Society attorney. “Our clients and other struggling tenants cannot wait.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

At last: New York rent relief applications open June 1​

Program will allocate $2.7B to tenants, landlords hit hard by pandemic​

Finally: As of June 1, New Yorkers will be able to apply for the state’s latest round of pandemic rent relief.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement on Tuesday, a week before applications go live. The launch date just misses the May deadline initially proposed by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the agency tasked with allocating funds.

The state legislature approved the $2.7 billion program in the budget that passed in early April. But as of two weeks ago, OTDA had yet to update their website with program information. At the time, attorneys at the Legal Aid Society said they feared the radio silence would make it difficult for those in need to learn about the program.

“You can’t do any outreach when there’s nothing to tell people,” said Ellen Davidson, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society.

The state is hoping to allay that concern with a marketing campaign to spread the word about the program, as well as recovery initiatives available to small businesses. The OTDA will also partner with community organizations to provide application assistance in multiple languages.

When it opens, the program will pay up to 12 months of arrears and 3 months of prospective rent payments for eligible applicants. A bill that’s currently in committee in the state Senate would expand those allotments to 18 months of rent payments, and would ensure that New York’s program aligns with recently updated federal guidelines.

Eligible households can also receive up to 12 months of utility arrears.
The state expects the program to serve between 170,000 and 200,000 households. However, a September analysis of rent shortfalls prepared for the National Council of State Housing Agencies estimated New York could see anywhere from 800,000-to-1.23 million households unable to make rent. The data projected a rental debt load between $2.5 and $3.4 billion by 2021.

New York has lagged behind neighboring states in getting its program up and running. New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania all opened applications in March, just weeks after the federal funds allocated for rent relief became available.
user-matching
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Low-income tenants saw rent debt jump during pandemic​

Households owing more than $10K in back rent increased by 140%​

It’s clear that the pandemic has impacted New Yorkers’ ability to pay rent. What’s less clear is exactly how much rent debt has been amassed since the beginning of last year — a crucial piece of the puzzle for policymakers in determining how much relief to extend to tenants and landlords.
A report released Wednesday by New York University’s Furman Center aims to inform the efforts of lawmakers in apportioning those funds.

The findings offer a snapshot of citywide rent debt by analyzing rent owed by tenants in 13,163 affordable housing units concentrated in the South Bronx and North Brooklyn. (Some data was included for units in Manhattan and Queens.)
The analysis focuses on buildings with over nine units with apartments financed by Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Some units are also home to recipients of Section 8 vouchers. The buildings used in the sample were able to provide granular rent ledger data, enabling the Furman Center to take a detailed look at the distribution of arrears.
view
view

According to the report, rent owed by tenants in the sample more than doubled during the first year of the pandemic, while the portion of families that have incurred severe rent debt has jumped even higher.

Units in the report’s sample owed a total of over $20 million in back rent from March 2020 to February 2021, a 108 percent increase from the same period the year before.
The number of households with rent debt rose to 55 percent of units. But the average arrears owed jumped by nearly 66 percent: a household that owed $2,073 in February 2020 owed $3,435 in 2021, up from an average debt of $1,654 in February 2019.

Perhaps most starkly, the number of households that owe $10,000 or more in back rent rose 140 percent during the first year of the pandemic. Those owing over $3,000, or about two months rent, jumped to over 15 percent from just under 10 percent.
As of February 2021, over half of all outstanding arrears were owed by households with over $10,000 in debt.
The data also maps the portion of rent New Yorkers in affordable housing paid through each month of the pandemic. Rent payments peaked in June and July 2020, and rose again in December.
Those increases align with first- and second-round stimulus payments, as well as the state’s disbursement of rent relief. The first federal stimulus payments went out in April of 2020 and a second one hit wallets in late December. In New York, meanwhile, the initial round of rent relief — however limited — was allocated over the summer, and the program reopened in December.

A new round of rent relief, approved by the New York state legislature in April, will be distributed in the coming months. The state has allocated $2.7 billion to the program and applications open June 1.

Gary Rodney, Tishman Speyer’s managing director, said during a Wednesday panel hosted by the Furman Center that he believes government payments correlate with the temporary dips in rental arrears owed.
“So, the hope is as these new funds are being released, you’ll see a similar decrease,” said Rodney.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

NY’s rent relief program launches, with glitches​

Landlords, tenants get error messages when trying to access program website​

Landlords and tenants awaiting the launch of New York’s rent relief program Tuesday morning were met with error messages and a busy helpline.
Lisa Fitzgerald, the owner of a two-family home in Albany who’s seeking $15,000 in back rent, was ready to submit her application materials at 9 a.m. when the portal, operated by the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, opened. She was prompted to set up an account, but got a 403 error message when she tried to do so.

“I tried over and over,” Fitzgerald said. “I switched from Safari to Chrome. I cleared my browser. And then I tried the help chat, and nobody ever came on to the chat.”
She then tried giving the call center a ring, but was disconnected. She called back and a recording told her it’d be a 62-minute wait.
Fitzgerald is one of many who’d hoped to apply for the state’s long-awaited rent relief program, but hit technical issues on the day it launched.
A stream of tweets to the OTDA shows other applicants grappling with similar glitches.

Portal users complained of error messages when attempting to verify their email or upload required documents. Some landlords have said they’re unable to verify whether documents are uploaded for the correct apartment.
Others can’t make it past the apply now button, receiving a “request is blocked” notification.
New York is one of the last states to roll out this most recent round of rent relief, funded in part by federal dollars. State lawmakers approved the $2.4 billion program in early April as a part of New York’s budget for fiscal year 2022. The program allots federal funds to the landlords of tenants who have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic.

“The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is supposed to bring hope to tens of thousands of struggling families,” said Jay Martin, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program. “Instead it is reinforcing the fears of many renters and small property owners that applying for the funds is just not worth their time.”
Tweets from the OTDA advise applicants to email the agency’s public information office or clear their browser’s history. The office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fitzgerald finally made it past an error message to set up her landlord account around noon, three hours after she started.
“But my mother has a 12:30 doctor’s appointment so I had to run out,” she said. “Hopefully when I get back I’ll actually be able to apply for funds.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Millions of Americans could face eviction as housing protection expires in June​

More than 11 million Americans are behind on their rent and many could be pushed from their homes when the national eviction ban expires in June.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's eviction moratorium, which has been in effect since September, will lift on June 30. Although the policy has been far from perfect at keeping renters housed, it's reduced the normal number of eviction filings over the same time period by at least a half, according to Peter Hepburn, an assistant professor of Sociology at Rutgers University-Newark and research fellow at The Eviction Lab.


Experts say the number of evictions could skyrocket when the ban lifts. Around 15% of adult renters are not current on their housing payments, according to an analysis by The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

"We're going to see what we've been managing to stave off: this wave of evictions that is just going to crush some of these areas," said John Pollock, coordinator of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel.

20210526 behind on rent state map nova pf
The CDC's eviction moratorium has faced numerous legal challenges and landlords have criticized the policy, saying they can't afford to house people for free or shoulder the country's massive rental arrears, which could be as high as $70 billion.

Yet housing advocates say the ban is lifting at a terrible time for both property owners and tenants, with states still scrambling to distribute the $45 billion in rental assistance allocated by Congress to address the crisis. (That funding is unprecedented: Renters were given just $1.5 billion during the Great Recession, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.)

"We need to let this moratorium stay in place until we spend all this money," said Mark Melton, a lawyer who has been representing tenants facing eviction pro bono in Dallas.


"If you bail out the renter, that means you bailed out the landlord," he said.

More from Personal Finance:
60,000 stimulus checks sent to dead people have been returned
Inflation-proof your spending by avoiding these purchases
54% of Americans support state cuts to unemployment

Heather Jordan has been approved for rental assistance in Missouri, but it could take weeks for the money to reach her landlord, who has already moved to evict her.

"If you've got the moratorium in place, it allows you the time to get the landlord paid," said Jordan, 48, who fell behind on her $1,475 rent after she lost her sales job shortly before the pandemic. Her wife is disabled and can't work.

If she and her family, including her wife, two children and two grandchildren, are evicted from their house in St. Louis, she doesn't know where they'll go. She's lived there for nine years, and finding a landlord to rent to her with an eviction on her record will be difficult.

"We will be homeless," she said.

Who's at risk?
Eviction rates will likely be higher in some states than others.

For example, nearly 1 in 4 renters are behind on their housing payments in Florida and South Carolina, compared with 6% in Maine and Kentucky, according to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


Alicia Mazzara, a senior research analyst on the housing policy team at the CBPP, said there were multiple reasons for those disparities.

"Some states already faced greater housing affordability problems before the pandemic," she said.

"Another likely factor would be the state's economy – for example, we know that the pandemic has caused job losses to be very concentrated in the restaurant and hospitality sector," Mazzara added. "Jobs most affected by the pandemic may make up a larger share of some state economies than others."

Across the country, Black renters are nearly four times as likely to be behind on their rent than white renters.

"The pandemic has exacerbated racial inequities," Mazzara said.

20210526 behind on rent by household income nova pf
Households with lower incomes also report more problems paying their rent. "Anyone who before the pandemic was living paycheck-to-paycheck is going to be vulnerable," Pollock said.

Older Americans are yet another vulnerable group.

According to one recent count, more than 100,000 people over the age of 65 said they expected to be evicted within the next two months. Almost 450,000 renters between the ages of 55 and 64 said the same.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Four landlords allegedly pushed out 5,000 renters during moratorium

House select subcommittee is seeking documents​

A House select subcommittee is hot on the trail of four landlords allegedly responsible for forcing out 5,000 renters during the CDC’s eviction moratorium.
The subcommittee is asking for documents from Invitation Homes, Pretium Partners, Ventron Management and the Siegel Group about their recent eviction practices. Letters to the companies were sent Monday requiring documents by Aug. 3, according to the Washington Post.

Ventron Management allegedly moved to evict more than 2,000 renters during the pandemic. The Siegel Group has allegedly increased eviction filings and disputed that the moratorium applied to their tenants.

Invitation Homes also allegedly evicted many tenants, despite some being approved for federal rental resistance. It plans to comply with the House subcommittee’s document request. Pretium Partners told the Post it is “committed to honor CDC declarations beyond the stated expiration.”

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, around 11.5 million Americans were behind on rent last month.

There is growing concern that the United States is on the verge of a displacement crisis. The CDC’s eviction moratorium is set to expire July 31 and there are no plans to extend it. Congress has appropriated $46 billion in emergency rental aid, but some states are struggling to get the aid to tenants.
 

Noah Rosenblatt

Talking Manhattan on UrbanDigs.com
Staff member
Four landlords allegedly pushed out 5,000 renters during moratorium

House select subcommittee is seeking documents​

A House select subcommittee is hot on the trail of four landlords allegedly responsible for forcing out 5,000 renters during the CDC’s eviction moratorium.
The subcommittee is asking for documents from Invitation Homes, Pretium Partners, Ventron Management and the Siegel Group about their recent eviction practices. Letters to the companies were sent Monday requiring documents by Aug. 3, according to the Washington Post.

Ventron Management allegedly moved to evict more than 2,000 renters during the pandemic. The Siegel Group has allegedly increased eviction filings and disputed that the moratorium applied to their tenants.

Invitation Homes also allegedly evicted many tenants, despite some being approved for federal rental resistance. It plans to comply with the House subcommittee’s document request. Pretium Partners told the Post it is “committed to honor CDC declarations beyond the stated expiration.”

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, around 11.5 million Americans were behind on rent last month.

There is growing concern that the United States is on the verge of a displacement crisis. The CDC’s eviction moratorium is set to expire July 31 and there are no plans to extend it. Congress has appropriated $46 billion in emergency rental aid, but some states are struggling to get the aid to tenants.
hmm, damn. In every crisis we hear these types of things.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
There has been some back and forth about hedge funds/private equity buying up SFR, with some sensationalized articles against countered by others saying it's still a small portion of the market and concerns are silly. But the concerns I've seen aren't just from homeowners concerning pricing affects, but tenant groups pointing out a history of arm tactics and generally not being great landlords. This only strengthens those kinds of arguments.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Biden to Congress: extend the eviction ban
White House asks lawmakers to preempt scheduled expiration of CDC moratorium as Delta variant surges

In another eleventh-hour intervention, President Biden is urging Congress to extend the federal ban on evictions past its scheduled expiration on July 31.

In a statement Thursday morning, the White House cited the spread of the Delta variant, particularly among Americans “both most likely to face evictions and lacking vaccinations” as grounds for continuing the ban past the end of the month.

Covid cases have surged 146 percent nationwide over the past two weeks, according to data compiled by the New York Times.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Democrats urge Biden to extend eviction ban after House effort falls short​

Hours after a federal stay on evictions lapsed, Democratic lawmakers pleaded with President Joe Biden to extend the ban, warning that millions of Americans are now at risk of being put out on the street.

The moratorium officially expired at midnight on Saturday, threatening an estimated 3.6 million renters. In response, Congressional Democrats are calling on the White House to extend the moratorium through mid-October, according to the Associated Press.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was among a group demanding action with a statement on Sunday evening co-signed by other party leaders. The statement cited the growing threat of the Delta variant as a reason for the moratorium extension, labeling it a “moral imperative.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is among the Democrats who have criticized the Biden administration for its response to the expiring eviction moratorium, and was one of several Democrats to camp outside of the Capitol this past weekend in protest.

Biden has in turn called on Congress to act and extend the moratorium, with the White House asserting that it lacks the authority to unilaterally extend the moratorium after a June Supreme Court ruling narrowly upheld the ban. In that ruling, Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested he would block future extensions that lacked “congressional authorization.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
It can't be both:
I'm seeing multiple reports about how rent collections are at an all time high.
And then I see this (which I find more believable):
Tenants stop paying rent so relief fund will foot the bill

Landlords in lurch as renters run up arrears to qualify for aid​

New York’s rent relief program was supposed to melt away the state’s multi-billion-dollar rent debt. Instead, landlords say their arrears have only mounted since the applications portal opened.
The owners say some tenants have stopped paying rent in order to qualify for the aid, seizing on the opportunity to get ahead on other expenses.

But with rent relief stalled, landlords such as Jerry Waxenberg are paying the price. Still, he doesn’t fault his tenants for getting help where they can.
“These are not rich people,” said Waxenberg, a third-generation landlord with an ownership interest in 850 units. Most are in the Bronx, where one in four residents live in poverty and one in three are severely rent-burdened.

Normally, about 150 of his units owe more than a month’s rent. During the pandemic, that number rose, then stabilized. It was 201 at the end of January and 206 at the end of May.
But by the end of July, 275 of Waxenberg’s units were behind — a 33 percent increase since the state’s emergency rental assistance program launched. It was his worst month of the entire pandemic, he said.

“It’s probably because they’re anticipating reimbursed rent money,” Waxenberg said. “They’re saying, ‘Look I have some money that I could give to you, but the government’s going to pay the whole thing. And you know what? They’re right. I understand that. It’s a matter of either paying the rent or paying for food, transportation or whatever.”

But Waxenberg also has bills to pay. By the end of July, past-due rent for his portfolio had topped $1 million.
“Tell me how we’re paying real estate taxes July 1 and water and sewage July 31,” he said. “I can see us losing the buildings.”

The program — known as ERAP — covers up to 12 months of back rent and three months of future payments. It was built to help tenants hit hardest by the pandemic. To qualify, they must have accumulated arrears after March 2020, have received unemployment benefits or lost income, and make no more than 80 percent of the area median income.

However, with the pandemic ongoing, newly missed payments can qualify for reimbursement. That has prompted some tenants to withhold rent to get extra months of relief.
One landlord observed that tenants who stopped paying — protected by an eviction moratorium — will get more aid than those who scraped together the rent despite hardship.

“Some of these people broke their back the last 15, 16 months paying on time when it was tough for them and now they can’t get anything out of it,” the landlord said. “We’ve also seen people stop paying right now just to try and grab some money.”
The owner’s firm, which rents to middle-income tenants in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, has seen arrears rise over the past two months. Some tenants who were current on their rent asked the firm to submit an ERAP application saying they owed rent so they could get aid. The requests were denied, according to the firm.

Data support landlords’ anecdotal accounts. New York City and state figures show that rent collection fell in the month that ERAP launched. Statewide, rent payments for June dropped by over 3.3 percent, the largest month-over-month decrease since at least April 2020, according to the property management company Real Page.

Meanwhile, city landlords have seen arrears spike. In mid-May, 55,000 owners said 11.1 percent of their portfolio owed more than two months’ rent. By mid-June, 40,000 owners reported 16.3 percent had fallen that far behind, according to a survey by landlord group Community Housing Improvement Program. A spokesperson for CHIP said that the organization did not feel comfortable attributing the jump to the launch of ERAP.

When asked whether ERAP was supposed to let tenants use the rent aid to catch up on other bills, Assembly member Linda Rosenthal said the intent was to help people who can’t pay their rent — regardless of their motives for applying.
“Do we really want to force people to starve? I don’t think anybody wants that,” she said.

Legislators did not anticipate that the program would be burdensome and potentially disastrous for some owners, as it has been for Waxenberg, because of tenants maximizing their aid and the state struggling to distribute it.
Rosenthal stressed that speeding up disbursement, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised to do July 26, would get the program back on track so that tenants and landlords can be made whole.

But with New York’s rent debt exceeding $3.29 billion and only $2.7 billion in relief funds to go around, every month of delay widens that gap.
“It’s probably not enough money,” said Rosenthal. “That’s why it’s important for everyone to apply as quickly as they possibly can.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Federal judge denies landlords’ request to block CDC national eviction ban
  • A federal judge rejected on Friday a request by landlord groups to block the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new eviction moratorium.
  • The decision by Judge Dabney Friedrich of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is a win for the Biden administration.
  • More than 11 million Americans remain behind on their rent, moving the CDC to issue a new eviction ban earlier this month after its previous one expired on July 31.
New York City housing advocates and tenants march to demand Gov. Andrew Cuomo cancel rent amid the pandemic on Oct. 10, 2020.

New York City housing advocates and tenants march to demand Gov. Andrew Cuomo cancel rent amid the pandemic on Oct. 10, 2020.
Andrew Lichtenstein | Corbis News | Getty Images
A federal judge rejected on Friday a request by landlord groups to block the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new eviction moratorium.

The decision by Judge Dabney Friedrich of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is a win for the Biden administration.
More than 11 million Americans remain behind on their rent, moving the CDC to issue a new eviction ban earlier this month after its previous one expired on July 31. That protection applies until Oct. 3 and to places where Covid rates remain high.

The ruling was on technical grounds. Friedrich said the “Court’s hands are tied,” by an earlier appellate ruling to keep the moratorium in effect. She said the plaintiffs could challenge the policy with the D.C. Circuit.
Alabama landlords who made the request will probably appeal.
“The Administration believes that CDC’s new moratorium is a proper use of its lawful authority to protect the public health,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Friday. “We are pleased that the district court left the moratorium in place, though we are aware that further proceedings in this case are likely.”

The CDC’s eviction ban has faced numerous legal challenges and landlords have criticized it, saying they can’t afford to house people for free or shoulder the country’s massive rental arrears. On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down at least part of New York’s eviction moratorium.
Housing advocates say evictions must be barred until states distribute the $45 billion in rental assistance allocated by Congress. Just around $4.2 billion of that money has reached households, according to a recent analysis by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
“It’s imperative that cities and states deliver the rental assistance to at risk communities as quickly as possible to prevent eviction and the consequences for public health across all of our communities,” said Emily Benfer, a visiting professor of law at Wake Forest University.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Hochul convenes lawmakers, but eviction moratorium will expire​

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday night called the state Legislature back into session tomorrow to extend the state’s eviction moratorium through Jan. 15.
The announcement came six hours before New York’s stripped-down eviction ban will expire.

“We are not going to exacerbate what is already a crisis in terms of the homelessness problem,” the governor said at a press conference. Hochul faulted the state for failing to disperse more of the money allocated for rent relief.

Most New York tenants have been exposed to housing court since mid-August when a Supreme Court ruling tossed out a clause in the state ban that allowed tenants to self-declare hardship during Covid and avoid eviction.
The ruling creates a hurdle for lawmakers, which will have to craft legislation that can keep tenants out of court while also allowing landlords to contest a hardship form through the court — a legal brain teaser, if not a Catch-22.

The governor did not provide specifics as to how the legislature would reconcile that conflict. She said the state’s lawyers are working on it.
“We’ll make it as airtight as we can,” she said.
Landlords have become increasingly exasperated by repeated extensions of state and federal eviction moratoriums. New York tenants collectively owe billions of dollars in rent, and know landlords are without recourse to collect it — for now, at least. They could eventually seek rent arrears in court, but that is an expensive and time-consuming process with no guarantee that judgments can be collected.

Tenant advocates, meanwhile, have said it would be unconscionable to allow renters to be removed from their homes during a pandemic that cost many of them their jobs. They predict a tsunami of evictions should the moratorium expire — an assertion landlord groups dispute, given the cost of pursuing evictions.
The economy has largely recovered, but some tenants owe more rent than they can imagine repaying, and many small landlords have run through their savings and cannot afford lawyers.

Hochul said she expected the $2.7 billion in federal rent aid allocated to New York will solve the problem.
“The money is intended for landlords. They’re the ones who are owed the rent,” she said. “I want to make sure that we wipe the slate clean for landlords and for tenants.”
To speed distribution of that money, the governor said she would hire people to go door-to-door, recruiting landlords and tenants to apply for rent aid and helping them fill out the paperwork. “We’re going to have a SWAT team approach to actually go to people’s homes,” she said.

As of Sept. 1, only a couple of degrees of eviction protection will remain for the state’s renters.
Tenants who apply to the state’s rent relief program are protected from eviction for the year after their application is accepted; however, applying does not keep tenants out of court.
The Tenant Safe Harbor Act also provides protection, but only before a judge. Tenants can claim financial hardship experienced between March 2020 and January 2021 as a defense in an eviction proceeding.

Jay Martin, executive director of landlord group the Community Housing Improvement Program, has underscored that those protections should be sufficient.
The Rent Stabilization Association has threatened to sue for damages if a new ban contradicts any portion of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Evictions reckoning: Landlord-tenant tension at breaking point

Owners blame policymakers, renters’ advocates bemoan broken system​

New York lawmakers will determine the fate of the state’s eviction ban this week, and industry insiders say a new moratorium is a near certainty.
Insiders expect Gov. Kathy Hochul, gunning for the tenant vote in next year’s election, will push for a ban that could last through January. An extension to Oct. 31, which would be easier to get through the Assembly, is also on the table.

As tenants and landlords await the decision, their tensions are spilling out on Twitter. Less of a conversation than an ideological shouting match, the dialogue shows a mutual frustration over the financial toll of the last year and a shared confusion over who’s to blame — the policymakers, the players, or the system itself.
view
view

By and large, landlords fault the state government. Eviction bans that Albany implemented to keep tenants in their homes forced landlords to shelter many renters for nothing. Property owners argue that no one else in the private sector was asked to pick up the check during the pandemic.
“Why do landlords have to provide free labor via Eviction Moratorium, but grocery stores don’t have to provide free food?” quipped a professor on Twitter, foreshadowing a similar analogy invoked by the Supreme Court as it struck down the federal eviction ban last week (“Could the CDC, for example, mandate free grocery delivery to the homes of the sick or vulnerable?” the majority wrote.)

The point being: There is no free lunch.
Tenant groups have spent the past year and a half championing housing as a human right. The city’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists, for one, advocated for renters to remain in place regardless of their ability to pay.
The DSA criticized the Supreme Court last week for putting “the profits of landlords before the health & safety of the people once again.”

But with federal relief stalled, landlords say they are barely staying afloat.
“I know it’s in vogue to hate landlords but we are service providers,” said Ann Korchak, a representative for the group Small Property Owners of New York. She underscored that landlords can’t survive if consumers don’t pay for their services and that, in turn, hurts the city, which gets one-third of its revenue from property taxes.

Some progressives are fed up with a system that allows landlords to exist, period. They see property ownership as a way to leech income off someone else’s labor and argue that landlords who take on a mortgage they can’t afford have themselves to blame.

Real estate is an investment and thus carries risk, they say. A return is not guaranteed.
Since the pandemic began, groups like Housing Justice For All, led by campaign coordinator Cea Weaver, have been pushing to cancel rent, which would clear tenants’ arrears and put the onus on landlords to apply for relief. Others have added calls to “cancel landlords,” though most tweets stop short of an explanation.

Some arguments have devolved into non-sequiturs.
Pro-real estate groups have pointed to rising employment as proof that the moratorium has run its course. While still elevated from pre-pandemic levels, New York’s unemployment rate dipped to 7.7 percent in June, down from 8.9 percent in February, and stories abound of businesses desperate for workers.

“Two things make no sense,” wrote a Twitter user responding to a Goldman Sachs finding that 750,000 renters nationally are at risk of eviction. “Jobs are plentiful and yet 750K people can’t find one. Why will this increase COVID infections? Are all of these renters sheltering in place and harboring the virus?”

A debate over the living wage ensued. Some points were echoed by Missouri Rep. Cori Bush in a separate thread.
“When you tell someone facing eviction that they should ‘just get a job,’ remember that a full-time, minimum-wage worker can afford rent in ZERO states in America,” she tweeted. “ZERO.”

In response, Community Housing Improvement Program’s Jay Martin tweeted, “To force landlords to be responsible (which btw Cori Bush is) for carrying the entire economic burden of bad jobs policy while using real estate as a piggy bank for municipal coffers is a one way ticket to terrible housing for all of us.”
He added, “If a person couldn’t afford their rent yesterday they won’t be able to afford it tomorrow. A moratorium solves none of that.”

Some disputes have devolved into good old-fashioned political name-calling.
After Mayor Bill de Blasio labeled the Supreme Court’s conservative majority “right-wing extremists” for striking down the national moratorium, comptroller candidate Paul Rodriguez accused the mayor of pandering to “his socialist base,” before blaming de Blasio for the stalled rent relief — a state program.

And others have put their money where their mouth is.
The Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group whose federal lawsuit eviscerated the state’s moratorium mid-month, promised to sue over any defiance of the Supreme Court’s decision that tenants cannot self-certify financial hardship at landlords’ expense.
This time, the group said, it would demand damages.

“Everyone in Albany claims they’re laser-focused on this task, yet they continue to bog down the process in politics, once again kicking the can down the road,” said its president, Joseph Strasburg. “Make no mistake, we will challenge any attempt by lawmakers to legislate an eviction moratorium that is contrary to the SCOTUS decision.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
New York State eviction moratorium extended until January.

New York Lawmakers Extend Eviction Moratorium Again Through January 15, 2022​

New York state’s lawmakers voted, once again, to extend a residential and commercial eviction moratorium until January 15th, 2022, with changes to account for two Supreme Court decisions that blocked the state’s program and the larger federal moratorium.
Governor Kathy Hochul, who convened a special session of the state legislature Wednesday to vote on the extension, is expected to sign the bill on Thursday. (A previously announced signing event in Yonkers State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is no longer on her schedule.)
The new moratorium will potentially protect hundreds of thousands of tenants from eviction, while granting landlords broader power to challenge tenants who they doubt are suffering financial hardship.
Landlords now have a right to request a hearing in housing court to contest any tenant’s claim of financial hardship that protected them from eviction. The Supreme Court had found the previous policy, which allowed tenants to self-attest on a form that they faced financial hardship, was a potential violation of the landlord’s right to due process. A separate Supreme Court decision further eroded protections for tenants in New York when it overturned the federal eviction moratorium.

The extension came as welcome relief to New Yorkers who were staring down the August 31st expiration of the moratorium.
“This last month, it’s been torture,” said Sherease Torain, 42, who was fighting to stay in her Crown Heights home even before the pandemic, but she lost her job at a law office when the pandemic hit. “It gives me time to breathe. I have not been breathing. My nervous system has been in a state of fight, fight and freeze. I thought any day now, they were going to put all of our stuff outside in the street.”
The extra four-month pause before housing courts start ramping up will allow the state more time to speed up the dispersal of federal rent relief funds for landlords whose tenants owe an estimated $2.2 billion dollars in back-rent statewide. Most new eviction cases have been on hold since March of 2020, when the state enacted the first stay on evictions.
The Rent Stabilization Association, one of the plaintiffs that brought the lawsuit that ended up before the Supreme Court, promised to sue again.
“Albany lawmakers can’t decide which part of the Supreme Court order they follow and which part they ignore, or which parts they determine are valid and which they can disregard,” said Joseph Strasburg, the association’s president. “The Supreme Court recognized the importance of landlords’ property and due process rights, and ruled that the harm to landlords is so great that they must be protected from the law.”
Under former Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York’s program was the slowest to begin dispersing funds in the country, a state comptroller audit found, though the process is now speeding up. Hochul has promised to expedite the process of getting the federal funds out to New Yorkers. Through August 23rd, the state had distributed about 7%—just over $203 million—of $2.7 billion dollars in federal funds to landlords who are owed back-rent by their tenants, according to the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance which is administering the program.
Advocates say the biggest hurdle ahead is making sure the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who qualify for rent-relief know about the program and have the tools they need to navigate the application system. Only around 176,000 households have applied through August 23rd, though an estimated 700,000 New York households are behind on the $2.2 billion in rent payments according to the National Equity Atlas.
“What ads are we going to put on the subways, what ads are we going to put on the buses? What are we going to put in people’s mailboxes and inboxes?” wondered Cea Weaver, with Housing Justice for All. “What we did for the census we need to do for this, otherwise people will self-evict.”
The new bills put about $400 million in new state and federal funds towards the state’s rental relief efforts and to conduct more tenant outreach. Some funds have been set aside for tenant lawyers, while another pot of funds was carved out for people who earned above 80% of the area median income, or $95,000 for a family of four in New York City. (The $95,000 figure was the previous cut off for receiving assistance.)
Senate and Assembly Republicans railed against the extension, arguing it provided further cover for the state drag out dispersal of rent relief funds to the peril of property owners.
“All we’re doing is punting, we’re kicking the can down the road to January,” said State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, who voiced concern about having so little time to review the legislation. “I believe this is about chipping away good-cause evictions, I believe it’s about undermining property owners' rights, the right to own property...and creating a catastrophic situation down the road.”


1x1-pixel.png
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Looks like another dip in rent collection.
"Following the same pattern, payments now have come in from 68.7% of New York renters, up from 39.1% a week earlier but still 20.7 percentage points behind the payment metrics for the first couple of weeks in September 2020."

September Rent Payments Mostly Get Back on Track
After rent collections at the country’s professionally managed apartments got off to a rough start in September, payment levels climbed sharply during the second week of the month. Results still were not quite back to normal, however, due to difficulties in markets hit hard by Hurricane Ida.
Looking specifically at market-rate projects where RealPage software is used to manage the property, the share of households making September’s rent payment by the 13th was off 1.8 percentage points from year-earlier results. That performance compares to a year-over-year drop in collections that was more pronounced at 7.8 percentage points as of September 6.
In general, then, operators have been able to collect payments that were delayed when a three-day holiday weekend fell within the initial six days of the month.

Leaders and Laggards

However, payment levels are still way off in some locations, with national results hurt after Hurricane Ida led to big declines in collections across the apartment stocks in New Orleans and New York.
As of September 13, rent payments were in from only 57.1% of the renters in New Orleans. That’s up from the 33% collection rate seen a week earlier but still off 27.6 percentage points from the year ago performance.
Rent-Payments-September-1-13-2021-e1631716071464.png

Following the same pattern, payments now have come in from 68.7% of New York renters, up from 39.1% a week earlier but still 20.7 percentage points behind the payment metrics for the first couple of weeks in September 2020.
Providence once again ranks as the country’s top metro for collections. Payments for the month have been received from a whopping 99.7% of those renting professionally-manage apartments.
Payment rates are up to 93% to 95% across Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Tampa, while the figure is a little more than 92% in Minneapolis, Denver and Virginia Beach.
Completing the collections leaderboard, payment rates are at 91.3% to 91.9% in Austin, West Palm Beach, Detroit, Salt Lake City and Columbus.
 
Top