Press Releases

Tenants and Landlords Need More Relief in New York Amid Pandemic

A majority of the pending eviction cases in New York State can be resolved by providing emergency rental assistance and increasing access to rental subsidies, the New York City Bar Association asserts in a statement.

While staying eviction proceedings has, thus far, largely achieved desired results, “at this juncture, we must use this time to address and prevent the eviction and foreclosure catastrophe looming just over the horizon,” the City Bar states.

Specifically, the City Bar recommends relaxing the NYC Human Resources Administration eligibility requirements for “one-shot deals” – the one-time emergency grants that pay rental arrears to prevent or forestall an eviction. Approval for a disbursement usually requires proof of sufficient income to afford the lease rent. “With over 10% of New York City residents out of work, temporarily removing the requirement that a tenant prove they can afford the monthly rent would eliminate the primary barrier to approvals and send essential rent monies to property owners starved of rent,” the City Bar states.

The City Bar also recommends expanding eligibility for the Family Homelessness & Eviction Prevention Supplement (FHEPS) by allowing low-income workers to qualify for a housing subsidy and increasing the maximum eligible rents. “Allowing low-income workers to qualify will relieve tenants of the catch-22 between working or a rent subsidy,” states the City Bar.

Finally, New York State should implement a “Right to Counsel” law based on the success of New York City’s Universal Access to Counsel Law, as “the State’s recent eviction protections are only effective if tenants are provided counsel to advise and assert their rights.”

“The implementation of the above policies will prevent countless evictions and foreclosures, relieve an overburdened Housing Court system, and provide long-term solutions to an ever-worsening housing crisis,” the City Bar states.

The statement can be read here: