NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Wednesday is the first of the month, which means rent is due for millions of New Yorkers.
But with the coronavirus pandemic putting people out of work, many fear they will not be able to pay it.
Daniel Lariviere has been a makeup artist in Manhattan for more than a decade.
“It’s been really tough,” he told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
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For the first time, he does not know how he’s going to pay rent come Wednesday, April 1.
“My biggest worry is having enough money to eat,” he said.
The freelancer hasn’t booked a gig since COVID-19 shut down on-essential business in New York.
“I had a small 401k from years ago. I already took out from that. I really, I have nothing left,” Lariviere said.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants but little to no plan for what happens after.
“We’ll deal with that when we get to it. I hear you. There has to be some smoothing,” he said.
“Tenants are being told that… just wait a couple months and then you’re going to be evicted,” said Ellen Davidson, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society. “Over 60 percent of households in New York City are renters, and if they turn their back on renters, this city will fall apart.”
State Sen. Mike Gianaris has proposed a rent freeze for those who lost income because of the pandemic. The state is already waiving mortgage payments for three months.
“If rents are gonna be frozen, then we feel operating expenses should be frozen as well,” said Vito Signorile, with the Rent Stabilization Association.
The association represents 25,000 New York City building owners.
“It is in fact the rent money that they receive every month that allows them to pay for property taxes … water and sewer bills,” Signorile said.
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Experts advise tenants who won’t be able to make rent should try talking to their landlords sooner rather than later.
“[Tenants should] try to work with their landlord but not to be surprised if it doesn’t work out,” Davidson said.
“If I think further than next week, a month, I start, really start to panic,” Lariviere said.
While New Yorkers are being told to stay home, renters like Lariviere worry they soon won’t have a home to stay in.