TOWN OF RAMAPO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Dozens of renters in Rockland County were saved from eviction Wednesday, just two days after CBS2 reported they had to leave their homes.
The Town of Ramapo is now reversing its decision and saying tenants can stay.
CBS2’s Brian Conybeare demanded answers and got results.
Residents on Lake Street got the welcome news from Ramapo Deputy Town Supervisor Brenda Logan Charles, along with an apology.
“You have to apologize. The gentlemen that I met today, they are senior citizens, the look of anxiety on their face just broke my heart,” she said.
The town owns the homes built in the 1850s and many have fallen into disrepair. Town officials first delivered eviction notices to 15 families last week, telling them they had to pack up and move out by November 30th.
“I seen where it was going, and my friends too. This will be the end. That’s what it was for us up here,” said tenant Bill Cuomo.
He and his wife have rented their tidy cottage for 35 years and are now breathing a huge sigh of relief.
“I feel great what I just heard, if it’s a true story, you know if they’re going to stick to their word,” Cuomo said.
On Monday, the acting town supervisor told CBS2 the historic houses would be torn down and the land would be rezoned and used for light industry or warehouses to help take the burden off taxpayers. But that plan is now on hold.
It turns out, this all started because taxpayers were losing money, Conybeare reported. Some of the tenants fell way behind on rent. Those people could still be evicted if they don’t pay up But Logan Charles admits it was a mistake to send eviction notices to everyone – even those who pay every month.
“Our goal was to ensure that the tenants who weren’t paying rent would now start to pay,” she said.
Some longtime residents already had boxes in their living rooms. They said they’re thankful CBS2 got involved and demanded answers on why they were being forced out.
“A lot of pressure gone, a lot. And I want to thank you, too,” said Cuomo.
Since the town stopped giving them leases, they still want to see the deal in writing.
The Town of Ramapo is trying to clean up the financial mess left behind by former Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. He faces sentencing next month on securities fraud and conspiracy for manipulating town finances.