ALBANY – The state Legislature on Monday plans to pass a bill that would extend an eviction moratorium until May 1 and strengthen a variety of laws for renters and homeowners due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Legislative leaders said Sunday they will convene a special session Monday to pass the sweeping COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act in a bid to keep people in their homes and help small landlords.
“Far too many of our friends and neighbors struggled to find safe, affordable housing before COVID-19 hit our state,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, said in a statement.
“Now, more and more families are struggling financially through no fault of their own, and are worried about losing their roof over their head in the winter during a pandemic.”
The measure includes putting a temporary stay on evictions and residential mortgage foreclosures until May 1 for those who can attest that financial hardship due to the pandemic has prevented them from being able to pay their mortgage or rent.
The bill’s passage would come just days before a federal eviction moratorium was to end Dec. 31. But President Donald Trump said Sunday night he would sign an extension as part of a stimulus package.
“The bill advanced by the Senate Majority will help ensure New York tenants, homeowners and small landlords will not have to fear being kicked out of their homes if they’ve been impacted by this pandemic and economic c
As part of the act, any pending eviction proceedings or any commenced within 30 days of when the bill becomes law would be stayed for at least 60 days to give tenants an opportunity to submit a hardship declaration.
So that provision would give tenants two months to document they are unable to pay some or all of the rent due to financial woes created by the pandemic’s toll on the state’s economy.
risis,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, said in a statement.
The bill would become law when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs it, and he is expected to do so soon after the Legislature passes it.
The bill would create a Standardized Hardship Declaration Form that tenants can submit to their landlord or court to prevent or halt an eviction if they have a financial hardship related to COVID that prevents them from paying their rent in full or if they do not have the wherewithal to move.
It also notes the hardship could include if someone in the household is at increased risk for COVID and faces problems as a result.
Property owners would also be protected from credit discrimination if they fall behind on mortgage payments due to the pandemic.
The package also expands on a recent executive order by Cuomo.
Local governments would have to automatically renew the annual requirement that eligible senior citizens and disabled homeowners get a property tax break, the bill says. Normally, eligible recipients need to file renewal applications in person at their local assessor’s office.