A group of landlords in Westchester County filed a lawsuit claiming that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s eviction moratorium is unconstitutional.
The federal suit by owners of eight apartment buildings in Yonkers, Port Chester and Elmsford says the order halting evictions through Aug. 20 deprived them of their sole source of income, according to Crain’s.
They claim the order convinced even tenants who could still pay rent that they didn’t need to do so during the pandemic and allowed them to use their security deposit to pay rent, which violates their leases.
Landlords, meanwhile, were still required to pay their mortgages and property taxes, the complaint says.
The plaintiffs own more than 100 rental units and are seeking to get the security deposits back, claiming that they are needed to guard against damage that tenants can cause.
Some landlords have threatened to withhold their property taxes and called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to freeze taxes. Housing Court began scheduling conferences for evictions last week, but judges are only hearing pre-pandemic cases.
State legislators Wednesday passed a bill that would temporarily stop landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment issues related to the pandemic, but landlords are concerned that tenants will take advantage of the pandemic and withhold payments.
“All the protections I see in sight protect the tenants,” real estate attorney Robert Rosenblatt told Crain’s, “and nothing is protecting the landlords.” [Crain’s] — Eddie Small