The real estate industry is bracing for a moratorium on evictions in the face of a growing public health crisis.
Late Thursday afternoon, New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman, who represents Manhattan, introduced legislation to halt evictions and foreclosures.
“This bill would place a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during this time of crisis, preserving access to stable housing, helping save lives, and protecting those in need,” the memo for the bill reads.
According to the bill, courts would have the option to “grant to the landlord such relief as equity may require.” The bill would also block the “sale, foreclosure or seizure” of properties because of a failure to meet debt obligations for during a state disaster emergency, except by court order.
New York City Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been also said Thursday that the New York City Housing Authority would halt residential evictions. An agency spokesperson also said that NYCHA will extend its rent hardship program to residential evictions and adjourn all cases at its Hearing Office for two weeks.
Tenant advocates, housing organizers and even presidential candidates are drawing a connection between housing insecurity and public health, and electeds are getting the message. The demand for a moratorium on evictions was reiterated in a letter to the Court of Appeals late Thursday, which was signed by 24 New York state senators, including Hoylman, Sen. Brian Kavanagh, Sen. Julia Salazar and Sen. Todd Kaminsky.
Groups representing smaller landlords have voiced concerns that they are being asked to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the financial burden in a public health crisis. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have not said whether they support the measure.
“Everyone facing eviction should call 311,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on WNYC Friday morning, adding that the city is working with landlords and others to be “truly socially conscious and not greedy.”
Similar measures have been implemented by localities around the country, including San José and Miami Dade county. Italy is also planning a moratorium on debt repayment, including mortgages, amid a general lockdown.