NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Eviction moratoriums are meant to protect people who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But landlords who had authorized evictions before the COVID-19 pandemic hit are now left in limbo, and out tens of thousands of dollars.
“She’s playing the system, and the courts are allowing people like her to do this,” a landlord who asked we not reveal her name told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.
The landlord is talking about her tenant, who lives in the apartment connected to her home.
“May 2018 she came, and August 2019 she stopped paying,” the landlord said.
The landlord first put up notices demanding back rent. Then, at the beginning of March, a judge granted an eviction for April 30th.
“I was relieved that she was going. But, then COVID came and there’s no evictions,” the landlord said.
Joseph Strasburg is the president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which has 25,000 members. He says this scenario is not uncommon.
“When the governor extended the moratorium, he did not make a distinction between pre-COVID cases and post-COVID cases,” Strasburg said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s eviction moratorium now extends until Jan. 2021, and protects people with financial hardships due to the pandemic. Those with earlier cases are also benefiting.
Housing courts resumed eviction cases on Oct. 12, but warned the process would take much longer than usual.
“You can theoretically have completed cases and somewhere in 2021, assuming they have lifted the moratorium, then there’s another delay of several months before you could actually get that tenant out,” Strasburg said.
Cline-Thomas knocked, but the tenant wasn’t home to give her side of the story.
The landlord is already out nearly $17,000 and also needs the space for her disabled husband.
“He was a fireman, a paratrooper, and we gotta go through all this for her,” the landlord said.
For now, she hast to wait, with back rent and legal fees piling up.
Since June, more than 22,000 new eviction proceedings have been filed in housing courts across the city. A vast majority cite tenants not paying rent.
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