SMITHTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — More and more small landlords say their tenants have been taking advantage of the COVID eviction moratorium.

CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge spoke to a Long Island woman who says she has lost two years of rent, and soon she won’t be able to pay her own.

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Mother of two Jeevan Khalid wishes she and her husband had never rented out their house.

Her family moved for work and rented a 5,000 square foot home on Ardra Court for $5,000 a month to Frank and Sophia Delmaro.

They moved in in July 2017, and at first, they paid rent on time.

Then issues surfaced in January 2019.

“On May 22nd was the last rent he paid us. From June onwards, he just started making excuses,” Khalid said.

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Neighbors complained of garbage piling up around the home, including fireworks and bottles.

After months of pleading, the Khalids filed eviction paperwork. It took months to go through the courts.

Then the pandemic hit, and in March, the state banned evictions due to the coronavirus.

Finally a judge did order a warrant for eviction, but the sheriff’s office responsible for performing evictions can’t because of the moratorium.

“They’ve been hamstrung by the executive orders … that basically give tenants carte blanche to stay as long as they want,” landlords attorney William LaVelle said.

One text from the tenants’ attorney to the landlords said: “Frank said maybe $15,000. And he can go. If not I am going to file a Bankruptcy and stop any potential eviction.”

The tenant sent another text message saying, “Honestly I could live here for the next eight months and not pay rent but I don’t wanna do that if you want to give the money I’ll leave on the first if not then I don’t know what to tell you.”

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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

CBS2 tried knocking on the door for answers, but a woman yelled, “If you don’t leave, I’m gonna call the police. I’ll have you arrested.”

Khalid says when she’s shown up to the home to ask for rent, they have hurled racial slurs at her.

“She starts yelling at me, saying that 9/11 happened because of people like us,” Khalid said.

Current laws state tenants who claim COVID hardship are protected from eviction until May 1.

CBS2 reached out to the tenants’ attorney. He says his client was hospitalized with COVID.

“He told me that he does have a positive test. He’s going to send the results to me,” the attorney said.

He also says his client, Frank Delarmo, lost his job, but Delarmo told the Khalids he owned a company — Capital Roofing and Sealcoating on Yarnell Street in Brentwood.

CBS2 went to that location, and a woman opened the door and said it was her residence.

“Someone came before, too, a guy, and I told him this is not a roofing company. This is a residence,” she said.

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Khalid says her family is owed more than $100,000 and are now dealing with severe financial difficulties themselves.

They worry President-elect Joe Biden will extend the eviction moratorium until September, and it will be eight more months before they can even start the next court proceeding.

The Khalids have sent dozens of emails to elected officials, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo. CBS2 reached out to his office as well, but they have not answered our questions.

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Natalie Duddridge