New York Extends Eviction Moratorium

The executive order comes amid calls from housing advocates and the multifamily industry for much-needed federal rent relief.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Image via Flickr

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order extending the state’s eviction moratorium until Sept. 4, as the COVID-19 pandemic rolls into its fifth month. The original executive order was set to expire at midnight on Aug. 5.

Renter advocates in New York warned that thousands of rental households were at risk of being evicted if the eviction moratorium expired and was not extended further. According to the Legal Aid Society, 14,000 active eviction warrants were on the brink of moving forward once the ban expired.

New York first enacted the eviction moratorium—which also applies to commercial properties—through a March 17 executive order, just a few days before stay-at-home orders went into effect across the state and all non-essential businesses were ordered to close. In May, Gov. Cuomo extended the order for another 60 days.

In some areas, moratoriums on eviction proceedings have led to lawsuits. Landlords from Westchester County in New York and Boston, Mass. filed complaints in May challenging eviction bans in their respective states. Owners and landlords in Orange County, Calif., and Union City, N.J., also pushed back against eviction moratoriums enacted at the local level.

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As housing advocates and professionals in the multifamily industry anxiously await federal rent relief measures, officials in cities and states around the country have recently made decisions about their own eviction moratoriums.

An eviction ban in Illinois set to expire in late July was extended by Governor J.B. Pritzker, who also announced a $300 million program to aid renters and homeowners impacted by the pandemic. The state of California took similar action last month when Governor Gavin Newsom extended an authorization allowing local government to delay evictions through the end of September for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the industry’s most influential trade groups, the National Multifamily Housing Council, has pushed for Congress to pass a $100 billion emergency rent relief fund for rental households impacted by COVID-19 to avoid a “dangerous domino effect.” The proposed figure was part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in May but has not been picked up by the Senate.

The latest stimulus bill, The HEALS Act, was introduced into the Senate last month and includes $3.3 billion for lost income for tenants in low-income housing programs—significantly less than the $100 billion many had pushed for.

While NMHC and housing advocates are aligned in their push for federal rent relief, the multifamily industry does not support further extensions of eviction moratoriums, especially absent of more relief funds for renters.

“The only solution is a big infusion of federal spending that needs to happen sooner rather than later,” NMHC Vice President for Land Use Policy Paula Cino told Multi-Housing News last week.