NEW YORK (PIX11) – New York City could be heading for an eviction crisis after the state’s eviction moratorium was allowed to expire on Saturday, while hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers remain behind on their rent.
Now, the New York Rent Relief Program may not have enough funds to provide assistance to everyone who applied. PIX11 News spoke with Staten Island Legal Services Housing Director Tashanna Golden about what landlords and renters need to know. Watch the full interview HERE.
Q: What can tenants do to protect themselves from unlawful eviction?
Tashanna: Tenants should be on the lookout for the opinions of their landlords. If they receive anything that looks like court documents, they should contact 311 or a legal service provider, such as LSNYC (our helpline number is 917-661-4500) for next steps. If they find themselves locked out, they must immediately go to housing court and ask to be re-let.
Q: What is PARE? Is there enough money for everyone who’s fallen behind on rent?
Tashanna: ERAP is the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, a federally funded program that provides payment of rent arrears for tenants who have fallen behind on their rent due to COVID-related hardship. Both the landlord and tenant must participate in the application process.
Q: For tenants who have applied for housing assistance through the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (ERAP), are they protected against possible landlord eviction?
Tashanna: For tenants who are in court for non-payment of rent, an ERAP payment can bring them current, and therefore close the case. However, if there are additional arrears remaining, they can still be expelled if those arrears are not paid. For tenants who are in court for holdbacks, accepting a PARE payment from the landlord would prevent them from being evicted for a year, unless there is cause. For tenants who do not appear in court and have never been brought to justice, and payment of PARE may prevent legal action. A tenant CANNOT be evicted without a court judgment.
Q: What help is there for landlords who have fallen behind on mortgage payments due to tenants’ inability to pay rent?
Tashanna: ERAP payments benefit the landlord, so if a tenant asks them to participate, they should seriously consider it because the payment goes directly to them.
Q: Is it possible to be disqualified from ERAP? And if so, what would be the reason why someone could not get rent relief?
Tashanna: Not all ERAP requests are approved. The refusals I have seen are because the applicant cannot demonstrate financial hardship, usually because their income is too high.
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