Eviction Free NY + COVID-19

The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition is a coalition made up of tenants, organizers, advocates, lawyers, and more that led the fight to make it a right for tenants to have a lawyer if they face an eviction in NYC. We are now building campaigns for an eviction free NYC and ultimately for a right to housing. 

As the COVID-19 public health crisis began to hit NYC, we immediately went to work to ensure that New Yorkers would not face eviction nor be forced to continue to gather in the city's housing courts to defend their homes. We delivered a letter to Mayor de Blasio that more than 100 organizations signed on to and worked with our partners to garner more than 16,000 petition signatures to Governor Cuomo. In less than a week, we won an eviction moratorium for New York State tenants, residential and commercial. Housing courts across the state are effectively closed, with exceptions for illegal lockouts, serious housing code violations, and repair orders. Tenants can still get needed repairs and back into their apartments if they are locked out, but landlords can't evict.

This is an amazing victory for New Yorkers! But we know there is still much more to be done to ensure that tenants do not lose their homes during and after this public health crisis. We are now joining our partners in demanding a rent freeze, a rent, mortgage, and utility suspension, and housing for the homeless. Please sign our petition here: 

COVID-19 is not the first public health crisis, nor will it be the last. We need to invest in housing for people, not for profit.

We are calling on Governor Cuomo and the NY State Legislature to meet the following demands: 

  • Rent, mortgage, and utility suspension now:

    • No one should be displaced or go into debt because they can’t pay their rent or their mortgage. An eviction moratorium is an urgent first step, but we need a suspension of rent and automatic and universal forgiveness of any rent, mortgage, or utility payment owed or accumulated during the length of this crisis. That means folks shouldn’t have to pay rent/mortgages/utilities during this time and it cannot be claimed later.

    • Landlords must not use this moment to price-gouge or displace ANY tenant who cannot pay the rent (commercial or residential.) All existing rents should be frozen at their current level, and all tenants should have the right to renew their leases.

  • Reclaim our home and invest $10 billion in homes for all:

    • 92,000 people are homeless -- living shoulder to shoulder in shelters, at very high risk of COVID-19. We must immediately rehouse New Yorkers into permanent housing using all vacant property (public or private) and invest in rental assistance and permanent, high-quality public, and/or social housing.

    • We must invest in public housing, subsidized housing, and housing owned by nonprofits. Our public housing is dangerously unprepared for COVID-19, and the poor quality of the public housing stock puts residents at greater risk of contracting and spreading the virus. Subsidized housing/housing owned by nonprofits operates on thin margins, and these mission-oriented landlords must be able to secure hardship relief.

Working people across New York State are facing lay-offs and struggling to pay rent and buy basic necessities. This problem will not disappear once the threat of COVID-19 has passed, and the eviction moratorium is lifted. Forgiving rent during this period will help keep New Yorkers in their homes!

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COVID-19 Tenant Organizing Resources. All resources below were created in partnership with our allies at Housing Justice for All.

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Media Coverage on our Response to COVID-19

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Want to know what's happening nationally? 

Check out this awesome map that tracks Eviction Moratoriums across the Country, by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project!

There should be moratoriums everywhere! Feel free to email us at info@righttocounselnyc.org if you want to learn more about how we won in NY! 

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