Cuomo says NY “took care of rent issue,” but has no policy in place

As rent payments come due, landlords and renters warn they will be unable to make them

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

At a press conference Sunday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York “took care of the rent issue.” But there is currently no policy in place to back that claim.

In response to a question about rent relief for those affected by the coronavirus, Cuomo said “[renters] cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent.”

He did not elaborate, but was referring to a state judge’s memo suspending eviction proceedings indefinitely.

With a mandate for all non-essential workers to stay home to slow the spread of coronavirus, many New York State residents are unemployed or without pay. So renters and landlords alike are awaiting action from the government to avert financial distress.

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However, there has been no official suspension of rent payment. Tenant groups have called for such a measure, and State Sen. Michael Gianaris is working on a bill to suspend rent payments for 90 days, but the legislation has not yet been formally proposed.

Yesterday, Cuomo issued an executive order to tell banks that they should let homeowners hit by the pandemic postpone mortgage payments, or face penalties from regulators for “unsafe and unsound” business practices. Neither that or the eviction moratorium issued last week suspends rent payments or commercial real estate debt.

Read more of our coverage on housing policy amid the global health crisis