Some New York landlords could be on the verge of landing rent relief, thanks to a redistribution of unclaimed aid checks.
City Limits reported 20,000 tenant applications submitted to the state from June to August and approved by the Office of Temporary and Disability Administration have yet to be matched to a landlord. The payouts would cover more than $250 million in arrears, should they be claimed.
The agency said on Tuesday that more than 26,000 notices were sent out to property owners warning the checks need to be claimed within 180 days. According to City Limits, unclaimed checks could be redistributed to a backlog of applicants.
Reasons for unclaimed checks vary. Landlords need to send in their own applications for rent relief and those who don’t do so can’t claim the checks. But tenant and property owner groups claim the state is also having a hard time linking submissions from renters and their landlords.
The revocation of the checks after 180 days isn’t automatic and applications will be considered on a case-to-case basis, City Limits reported.
Last month, New York’s portal for emergency rental assistance stopped accepting applications after earmarking virtually all of the $2.4 billion in funding available to the state. Gov. Kathy Hochul has requested another $996 million from the Treasury Department, but that request hasn’t been approved.
More funding could be coming to New York through a reallocation of rent relief by the Treasury Department, which was reported last month to be eyeing a plan to shift unused funds away from some municipalities to those that are low on resources. The specifics of the plan, which was originally expected to be unveiled at the beginning of the month, are not known.
Meanwhile, city landlord groups are split on the future of the state’s rent relief program. After the portal closed, the Real Estate Board of New York and the Community Housing Improvement Program sought to have it reopened, while the Rent Stabilization Association didn’t see the point.
One key factor linked to the portal’s reopening is the pending lapse of the state’s eviction moratorium; renters who apply for aid are shielded from evictions. The state’s moratorium is set to expire Jan. 15.
According to City Limits, the Legal Aid Society sued the OTDA on Monday in an effort to force the agency to start accepting aid applications again.
[City Limits] — Holden Walter-Warner