After a year-and-a-half eviction moratorium, landlords catching a break

Local News

(WIVB) — Lawmakers say the New York State’s new eviction moratorium includes rent relief with benefits custom-tailored for Western New York landlords.

Thousands of Western New York landlords have been unable to collect rent from their tenants for a year-and-a-half, due to the eviction moratorium, not even from tenants who could pay. Now with the new moratorium signed by Governor Hochul, landlords are finally getting a break.

New York’s eviction moratorium ended this week, put a heavy burden on smaller landlords even though the state has a fund of nearly $3 billion designed to protect landlords and tenants.

Buffalo Assemblyman Jon Rivera said, “We had an administration that just did not want to move, and was just running against tremendous inertia went it came to dollars hitting the streets.”

“Small property owners in Western New York and around the state who actually rely on rental income to pay their taxes, to pay their mortgage payments, to pay their user fees have been bearing the brunt,” said State Senator Sean Ryan of Buffalo.

State Senator Sean Ryan and Assemblyman Jon Rivera say a large number of those smaller landlords call Buffalo home, especially on the West Side. The new moratorium includes protections for landlords to take on problem tenants.

John Hocieniec of Neighborhood Legal Services added, “To bring suits through the regular eviction process, get their case heard, and should be able to evict a tenant who has been creating a nuisance.”

There is also a quarter-billion-dollar hardship fund that provides direct rental assistance for cash-strapped landlords whose tenants don’t qualify for federal assistance.

“Or tenants who are uncooperative and refuse to fill out applications, or for tenants who have vacated the property, leaving an empty apartment and the landlord with several months unpaid rent,” said Ryan.

The direct assistance is what attorney Loran Bommer suggested earlier this week would give landlords a break just like the government’s Payroll Protection Program.

“You could mimic what occurred last year on the PPP program. Call it an LPP program for the landlord protection program,” said an attorney for Landlords Loran Bommer.

Tenants who can show their inability to pay rent is due to a hardship caused by the COVID pandemic can receive rent relief going back to April 2020 plus another three months, but the money is transferred to their landlord.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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