Evictions down 78% from pre-Covid levels

ERAP protections, housing court issues stymying landlord action

Evictions, Rental Market, Rent Aid

A predicted wave of evictions didn’t happen last year as New York landlords remained on the short end of the policy stick, new figures show.

Evictions in the 12 months after a statewide moratorium expired last January totaled just 4,400, Crain’s reported. That was down 78 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

The city executed 21,900 evictions in 2018 and 18,700 the following year, according to the Department of Investigation.

It’s not clear from the data how many of the year’s evictions were tied to nonpayment of rent, but landlords groups say the number is about 90 percent.

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After the moratorium ended Jan. 15, 2022, evictions rose every month from February to November before falling sharply in December. The first half of this month had about as many evictions as all of last month, and January is on pace to have the most evictions since the moratorium was lifted a year ago.

Various factors contributed to the city’s low number of evictions last year. New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program disbursed $2.7 billion through November and granted eviction protection to recipients. But even after the program ran out of money, it — along with housing court judges — continued shielding applicants from eviction.

The program is slated to close tomorrow. It is unclear when its huge backlog of pending applications when-erap-ends-purgatory-may-continue-for-landlords/ will be processed.

Landlords had been begging the Hochul administration to shut down ERAP, as it was preventing them from moving nonpaying tenants out and yet was unlikely to pay all, or any, of their arrears. Some tenants facing eviction have been buying time by filing again for ERAP after being denied or receiving their full allocation of rent aid.

Housing courts have been another challenge for housing providers. They, too, have a giant backlog of cases. And judges are postponing cases if tenants lack legal representation.

Holden Walter-Warner

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