On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law freezing evictions and certain foreclosures for two months in New York. Under the new extension, renters who are facing pending evictions or who face evictions in the next 30 days will be protected from eviction for at least 60 days.
The new law, which was signed on Monday, will also suspend evictions until May 1 for renters who submit signed paperwork stating they’ve faced hardship amid the coronavirus pandemic. “When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we asked New Yorkers to protect each other by staying at home. As we fight our way through the marathon this pandemic has become, we need to make sure New Yorkers still have homes to provide that protection,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
“This law adds to previous executive orders by protecting the needy and vulnerable who, through no fault of their own, face eviction during an incredibly difficult period for New York. The more support we provide for tenants, mortgagor, and seniors, the easier it will be for them to get back on their feet when the pandemic ends.”
New Yorkers could point to hardships ranging from a significant loss of household income to increased out-of-pocket health expenses, to caregiving responsibilities, to the risk that moving itself poses for individuals with underlying medical conditions that leave them vulnerable to COVID-19. The legislation also makes it harder for banks to foreclose on smaller landlords who say they are facing similar hardships, including having a tenant who’s defaulted on a significant amount of rent payments since March 2020. The bill protects landlords who own fewer than 10 dwelling units from foreclosure or tax liens until May 1, while also protecting their credit rating.
The new law is a boon for New Yorkers who have taken a massive economic hit since the onset of the pandemic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 20 percent of New York households say they’re behind on rent or mortgage payments and likely to face eviction or foreclosure in the next two months. Furthermore, the state’s unemployment rate increased to 8.1 percent in November, up from 3.6 percent in November 2019. That’s compared to a 6.4 percent national unemployment rate in November, which made it all the more crucial for the law to be signed.