Empire State renters hit hard by the coronavirus can rest easy for another few months, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday extended a moratorium on non-payment evictions through August 20.
“The number one issue that people talk to me about probably is rent, and fear about being able to pay their rent,” said Cuomo in a press briefing in Valhalla, NY. “And this just takes that issue off the table until August 20.”
With the coronavirus and resulting shutdowns driving massive unemployment, Cuomo first issued the moratorium on March 18, set to run through June 18.
But the extension now buys down-on-their luck New Yorkers another two months, with both residential and commercial renters covered.
Additionally, Cuomo on Thursday banned late fees for any payments missed during the moratorium, and green-lit renters under financial duress to use their security deposits as payment, repaying the deposits over time.
“I hope it gives families a deep breath,” he said. “We’ll figure out between now and August 20 what the situation is.”
The announcement came hours before New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board was set to convene Thursday evening for a preliminary vote on rent hikes for the coming year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio last month ordered the body — of which he appoints all nine members — to approve a rent freeze.
Cuomo said that he was sympathetic to the concerns of landlords, who have their own obligations to meet during the pandemic.
“We’re working on relief from the banks for the landlords also,” said Cuomo. “But on a human level, I don’t want to see people and their children being evicted at this time through no fault of their own.”
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