Facing pressure from tenant advocates, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the state’s moratorium on evictions for at least another two months.
The governor said the moratorium on residential and commercial evictions — for non-payment of rent due to Covid-19 — will last through August 20. He also announced a ban on fees for late or missed rent payments during the moratorium, as well as the option for tenants to tap into their security deposits to pay rent (though those deposits would ultimately need to be repaid). He said he was unsure if the moratorium would be extended beyond August.
When asked about relief for landlords who might struggle to make mortgage payments without rent revenue, Cuomo indicated that the state is working on “relief from the banks for landlords also” and as well as for banks. He didn’t go into specifics but said that, “We stopped the foreclosures on the landlords.”
In March, the state had ordered that state-chartered banks give borrowers a break on mortgage payments for 90 days. More specific details on halted foreclosures for landlords were not immediately available.
The governor noted that there’s a “tradeoff between the tenants and the landlord” and that there’s a need to protect those who are “most vulnerable.”
“We have to make sure those people are protected,” Cuomo said. “The number one issue people talk to me about, probably is rent. This takes this issue off the table until August 20.”
Last week, protestors interrupted Cuomo’s daily press conference, calling on the governor to outright cancel rent payment obligations. At the time, Cuomo pointed to the eviction ban as the state’s form of renter relief.
Legislators have proposed a measure that would forgive rent and mortgage payments, rather than delay obligations. As it stands, the eviction moratorium doesn’t prevent landlords from demanding repayment of rent. It’s unclear what actions the state will take once the ban expires.
“I can’t tell you what’s going to happen two three months down the road,” Cuomo said. “Whatever happens we will handle it at the time.”
Write to Kathryn Brenzel at [email protected]