ALBANY – Jamestown’s voice in the New York State Senate is speaking out about Wednesday’s eviction moratorium extension, saying the move hurts good renters.
The Democratic-led Legislature voted Wednesday night to extend the eviction and foreclosure freeze for commercial and residential tenants who fell behind on their rent because of hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday called the Legislature back to Albany for “extraordinary session” to pass the legislation, which now puts evictions on hold until January 15.
Under the legislation, courts will be able to look up whether a tenant has applied for rental assistance, and landlords are able to seek eviction proceedings against tenants who are “a nuisance or has inflicted substantial damage to a property.”
Senator George Borrello and Assmeblyman Andy Goodell, both who represent Chautauqua County, voted against the measure.
In the end, Borrello says this is only going to hurt good tenants who pay their rent.
“It’s the people who rent that will suffer the most because there will be less choices, less availability, which we already have a problem with prior to the pandemic here in Western New York, and throughout upstate New York,” said Borrello. “We are going to relegate people to two choices, either you can either afford to own your own home and maintain it, or you are going to be living in some kind of government situation.”
The State’s Governor has vowed to roll out rental assistance faster, with the legislation boosting the funding to $2.6 billion.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week nixed part of the moratorium that allowed tenants to pause eviction proceedings simply by filing a form declaring they’d had a COVID-related financial hardship, or that moving in a pandemic would prove a health risk. The court saying that landlords should have the ability to challenge those hardships in court.
The state’s previous moratorium, which included foreclosure protections for property owners, expired on Tuesday.