GOP pushes back on requests to continue eviction moratorium
Melanie Lekocevic is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media Republicans and landlords statewide pushed back April 28, against a Democratic proposal to extend the eviction moratorium originally adopted to provide relief during the COVID-19 crisis. The Assembly Minority Conference held a virtual press conference calling on state lawmakers to end the moratorium that denies property owners the ability to evict tenants who do not pay their rent. A vote on the extension was originally slated for this week in the state Legislature, but by mid-week the vote had been delayed until Monday. The moratorium was first passed in May, early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Opponents of the moratorium argue that it is hurting small landlords who struggle to make mortgage payments. “We have crossed the line from protecting tenants facing difficulties to providing near immunity from paying rent,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, said. “Temporarily halting evictions made sense as the state was coming to grips with an emerging pandemic, but forcing landlords to house tenants who refuse to pay rent month after month is nothing short of economic cruelty.” Rochester landlord Rick Tyson said “We reached a point where we had lost more than our entire property tax liability to both the city of Rochester and Monroe County, which at the time was $87,000,” Tyson said. “This moratorium is crushing us at this point.” Elyse Zaccaro, a West Hampton Beach landlord said. “Maybe the moratorium made sense early on, no doubt. Tenants in need needed some protection — there was panic, it was a pandemic, it was something unprecedented. ...Essentially the moratorium confiscates property in order to house people who the state should be helping, while denying tax-paying property owners the right to due process.” This week tenant advocates and the Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition held a rally outside the office of Assemblymember Didi Barrett’s office in Hudson, in a call for the state to extend the eviction moratorium and provide rent relief to those tenants financially impacted by the pandemic. Barrett said in a released statement she was asking the state to release funds aimed at helping those tenants experiencing hardship to pay their rent. “My priority is to deliver immediate, tangible assistance to our renters and small landlords across the state and I call upon the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to swiftly establish the framework needed to bring relief to our residents,” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.