LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York state now boasts the strongest tenant protections in the nation.
But as CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, struggling landlords say nearly two years of no rent is too long.
Eric Thompson said he worries he won’t be able to hold onto his Lindenhurst home, because a tenant won’t pay rent and won’t get out, despite his offers “to forgive the rent and give her money to move. She’s like, ‘No, I’m staying.'”
While he’s paying all the utilities, taxes, mortgage and maintenance.
“I’ve broken down and cried so many times about this. I can’t believe everything I’ve worked for the last 18 years, I’m giving it away to somebody else,” Thompson said.
He said tenant, who lists her employment as a substitute teacher and tutor, stopped paying $2,000 a month a year ago, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gusoff asked her if she wanted to give her side of the story, but Llanos said, “I’m not interested right now, and I would like you to leave please.”
“I get the whole hardship. I also lost my job this year, and I’m taking away people’s plates right now for a living … If anyone is in hardship, there are plenty of jobs out there,” Thompson said.
And now, the state’s eviction moratorium has been extended until January, with Hochul citing the continuing pandemic and “heartless” Supreme Court ruling as reasons why.
Supporters say the extension is needed, because of stalled rent relief.
“The feds gave us money. They gave us money to give to renters and New York state failed. We did not give it out … We have to make sure people get that money, to help the landlords as well,” said Lisa Tyson of the LI Progressive Coalition.
The extension will give some 800,000 households that are behind in rent more time to apply for relief, and landlords the ability to challenge hardship claims in court, but it won’t be a quick or simple process. Courts have backlogs.
“The burden of proof is going to be on the landlord. The landlord’s gonna have to show that somebody doesn’t have income, somebody doesn’t have assets or the ability to pay,” real estate attorney Richard Apat said.
Several Democrats opposed extending the moratorium.
“There’s two vulnerable populations. There is the tenant and there’s the small landlords, and on Long Island, a lot of landlords can barely pay their taxes,” said Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, who represents Lindenhurst.
Like Thompson, who said he now has to sell his house.
“There was a text message some time ago, ‘I love your house. I would love to buy it from you,'” he said.
From the tenant who owes thousands in back rent.
Landlord groups are vowing to sue to stop the eviction moratorium in federal court, calling it a “death warrant for owners of small buildings.”
New Yorkers who are struggling to pay their rent can apply for assistance through the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP. Applicants to the program are automatically protected from eviction while their application is pending and will receive a year of eviction protections if they qualify for assistance. To find out more, please click here.