When state legislators let the eviction moratorium lapse on Jan. 15, they probably didn’t expect one of their own staffers would be hauled into housing court.
Ivan Young, a full-time staff attorney for Sen. James Sanders of Queens, is facing eviction from an Albany house after allegedly stiffing the landlord on more than $13,000 in rent, the Times Union reported. Young has asked for his case to be adjourned until April 22, partially because he plans to apply for emergency rental assistance.
Young began leasing the single-family residence at 71 Academy Road last May, but allegedly stopped paying just two months later. An attorney representing the landlord claims Young hasn’t paid his $1,700 rent in nine months.
In December, Young wrote a $5,100 check to the property owner. When the owner deposited it, however, it was allegedly returned for insufficient funds.
State payroll records indicate Young makes $70,000 a year. The attorney for the landlord believes Young is abusing the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which protects people from eviction as soon as they apply. It was intended to help tenants who lost income during the pandemic.
“A lot of people are hiding behind ERAP because of the state provisions, which are just absolutely outrageous,” Joseph McGovern told the Times Union. “With respect to Mr. Young, I was really quite taken aback by his even mentioning his intention to make [an] application for ERAP.”
Young has also had financial problems with a home he owned in Queens, as it went into foreclosure, along with one owned by Sanders, The Real Deal reported in August.
Ironically, Young was a foreclosure defense attorney who worked on a landmark case. He was associated with Young Law Group on Long Island, which specializes in cases involving foreclosures and evictions. Young left the firm in December 2019, a managing member of the firm told the Times Union.
State lawmakers are moving to re-fund the rental assistance program because its federal supply line has been largely cut off. Last month, the Treasury Department said it would allocate $119 million to New York, a mere 7 percent of what the state sought. Landlord groups estimated at least $2 billion was needed to cover pending applications and future ones from tenants already behind on rent.
Despite running out of funding, the rent relief portal reopened in January, allowing tenants to gain eviction protection without landlords being assured of getting a check.
[Times Union] — Holden Walter-Warner