We are in the middle of another deadly and unpredictable surge of the pandemic. The conditions that created the need for the COVID related eviction protections have not gone away. We simply cannot allow anyone to be evicted.
Right now, there are more than 228,000 households across New York State with eviction cases in Housing Court. During the pandemic alone, landlords sued more than 65,000 tenants for eviction - that's a nearly 40% increase in eviction cases since March 2020. Tens of thousands of families are at risk of losing their homes.
The Supreme Court's attack on tenants rights' must not stand in NY. We cannot let them take away these protections while New Yorkers are still reeling from the pandemic and the homelessness crisis already threatens the lives of over 90,0000 New Yorkers. Many tenants are without work, struggling to pay for necessities like food and healthcare, and continue to endure poor living conditions in apartments neglected by landlords throughout, and even before, the pandemic. A recent study by UCLA found that the number of coronavirus cases and deaths ‘increased dramatically’ in states where eviction moratoriums had been lifted.
We call on the legislature to GO BACK TO SESSION and:
Create a STRONG EVICTION MORATORIUM that lasts at least until June of 2022. This Supreme Court decision does NOT prevent our Albany legislators from enacting strong (and constitutional) eviction protections. The rationale the state gave for letting CEEFPA expire in August in the first place was based on the passage of ERAP. Yet ERAP has been an abject failure. Folks are still applying, millions are yet to be dispersed and many still have not been able to apply because of challenges with access. We also predict that the money allocated for ERAP is nowhere near enough to clear all the back rent owed. We need a strong and long lasting Eviction Moratorium to protect tenants and the general public from a mass eviction crisis during a pandemic.
Pass Right to Counsel (May (S06678)/ Joyner (A07570) for ALL TENANTS ACROSS NY STATE NOW. The need for Right to Counsel has never been more clear. With more attacks expected from the Supreme Court, we must be prepared. ALL COVID related eviction protections may be argued in court---this is impossible to navigate without an attorney. Now is the time to act. We need long term solutions as we prepare for what’s to come
Pass Good Cause Eviction (Salazar (S2892)/Hunter (A05030). Tenants who do not have the right to renew their lease are especially vulnerable during the pandemic. Many tenants choose not to challenge their landlord because they worry about landlord retaliation. This is not OK, especially in a pandemic. We need the state legislature to act quickly to pass this critical legislation.
Cancel Rent (Salazar S08802/Niou A10826). The challenges created by ERAP are both entirely predictable and profoundly disappointing. They are the direct result of the state’s failure to enact the solutions we need. Even if the challenges with ERAP are resolved, they will not be enough. Universally cancelling rent and mortgage debt while creating hardship funds for the landlords who need it, still remains the best way to meet the needs of our current crisis. Our state legislators must act quickly to pass this law, and then work to transition ERAP into a universal rent cancellation program.