As April 1 rent payments loom, many New Yorkers who have lost their jobs due to coronavirus closings are worried they won’t be able to pay.
Although Governor Cuomo enacted a 90-day moratorium on all commercial and residential evictions last week, as well as a three-month pause on mortgage payments owed by individuals, NYC renters fear it isn’t enough.
State Senator Michael Gianaris officially introduced a bill to the senate on Monday, March 23 that would suspend rent for the next 90 days for those who have been affected by COVID-19, and it already has 21 co-sponsors. The official summary of the bill reads:
Suspends all rent payments for certain residential tenants and small business commercial tenants if such tenant has lost employment or was forced to close their place of business and certain mortgage payments for landlords of such tenants in the state for ninety days following the effective date of this act in response to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Right now the bill is in the “committee action” phase, where members of Standing Committees will decide whether it moves to the senate floor for a final decision by all members. During this phase, you can share your opinion on the bill with the committee chairman or your local Senator (call 518-455-4100 to find your representative). It ultimately has to make its way to the governor for final approval. You can read about the full process here.
The advocacy group Housing Justice for All has also been pushing for a statewide rent freeze. You can read more about their work here.
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