The ban on commercial evictions may continue through the spring, if Gov. Andrew Cuomo has his way.
The governor announced today that as part of his 2021 State of the State address, he’ll propose legislation extending the moratorium through May 1, along with new protections for renters who are facing financial hardship because of the pandemic.
“The pandemic shouldn’t get in the way of our ability to provide space for our businesses and roofs over our heads,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo’s last executive order on commercial evictions came in mid-December, when he extended the moratorium through Jan. 31. The governor has extended the ban on commercial evictions multiple times since his initial executive order went into effect last March, but can only do so for a month at a time.
Now, Cuomo wants lawmakers to advance legislation that would put the ban into place until the beginning of May. While details on the legislation were not immediately available, a release from the governor’s office notes that it would apply to tenants who are experiencing hardship because of Covid-19, and not those who are “creating health and safety hazards.”
In light of the moratorium, some commercial landlords have agreed to payment plans or lease payments based on a percentage of tenants’ income. Others have found ways to circumvent the ban, through a maneuver called self-help evictions.
As part of his planned legislation, the governor also plans to extend the ban on fees for late residential rent payments, and allow tenants to use their security deposit toward rental payments.
The state legislature already codified a ban on residential evictions at the end of December with the passage of the Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020, which limited evictions and foreclosures on some properties until May 1. The bill allows tenants and landlords the request protection from eviction or foreclosure by filling out a hardship declaration form.
But some have criticized the bill for not providing financial aid to renters or landlords, and its absence of means-testing.