Not satisfied with the devastating pain Albany has inflicted on restaurant owners, lawmakers are hoping to deal a similar blow to landlords, with an enormously irresponsible expanded ban on rent evictions that will let virtually anyone skip rent until at least May 1, just by filling out a form.

No joke: Under the new law, which Gov. Cuomo supports, tenants who’d rather not pay their monthly rent can simply fill out a form claiming they’re suffering “hardship,” present it to their landlord — and poof: They’ll be protected from eviction at least until May. The law also puts all eviction proceedings on hold for at least 60 days.

Meanwhile, Cuomo and President Trump have also extended state and federal eviction bans. But the new law would go beyond that, granting tenants protection without even making them prove they’ve really endured hardship as a result of the pandemic. And landlords won’t get a chance to challenge tenants’ claims.

So anyone — no matter how rich or how well they’ve done during the lockdowns — can file a form and delay (if not eventually get out of) paying their rent.

Albany must think landlords don’t have bills or are swimming in extra cash. The truth is, many are struggling as much, if not more, than their tenants. Property owners are already $500 million behind in their own property-tax bills, and another $13.7 billion is due next Monday. And most can’t cry hardship.

The last thing the city needs is for building owners to suddenly go belly-up, ignoring maintenance needs and tax payments or maybe even abandoning their properties altogether. 

“Closing the courts for a few months will not relieve the massive debt that tens of thousands of renters face, or provide any financial relief to the hundreds of housing providers who have provided safe, clean homes to millions of New Yorkers during the COVID-19 emergency,” says Community Housing Improvement Program head Jay Martin, who represents small-building owners. “If renters interpret this bill as a justification to not pay rent, the damage to our economy and local budgets will be immense.”

He’s right. Even if you favor a halt to evictions, this law goes way too far. If Cuomo lets it take effect, it’ll only compound the COVID damage he’s already caused.



Source Google News