Time is up for eviction moratorium, unless you live in New York

Around New York State

(WIVB) — Time is up for thousands if not, millions of tenants across the country as a federal moratorium on evictions expires this weekend. New Yorkers can breathe a little easier, although s it could only be another few more weeks.

Tenants across the country will face their worst fears of homelessness, starting this weekend, as the federal moratorium on evictions expires leaving many families desperate for a place to live.

New York’s moratorium is extended to August 31.

“So there’s a lot of assistance being put out for people to cover their rental arrears, so they can stay where they are, they don’t ever hit homelessness,” said Jean Bennett, Restoration Society, Inc.

Jean Bennett is director of housing and homeless services for the Restoration Society. They operate a number of programs, including assistance for people who have fallen behind on their rent through a number of government programs.

“To keep people from being evicted and to keep their rent arrears paid up. The county has offered that, the city has offered that, and of course New York State,” Bennett said.

There are thousands of tenants facing eviction, just in Buffalo, but Bennett tells us some of those tenants are going to be out of luck come September 1.

“Took advantage of the fact that they did not have to pay rent and they would not be evicted because they could be evicted. We have sent a warning sign out to all the people we work in housing that is not the case,” Bennett added.

But landlords are hurting, too. The inability to collect rent for more than a year has put many landlords in a bind who still have to pay taxes and even though the moratorium has to protect property owners until August 31.

“This is not a hobby. As a business they live on their residuals, they live on the profits. They have no money to pay their bills, they can’t pay their mortgages, they can’t buy their food,” Attorney for Landlords Loran Bommer said.

But now for the first time ever, the state is allowing landlords to receive assistance directly, through the back rent their tenants are receiving from the government.

“This is a big deal because landlords, they have mortgages, they have taxes, they have things just like everybody else, and with no income coming in, this has been a long stretch for sure,” Bennett said.

If you are eligible for help paying your back rent, you can find a link to the state office overseeing emergency rental assistance, click here.

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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