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The Assembly Minority Conference

Assembly Minority Conference Calls for Special Session to Bring State’s Eviction Moratorium in Line with Federal Guidance

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski), Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown), Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,SAM,ROS-Mahopac) and members of the Minority Conference recently penned a letter to Speaker Carl Heastie calling for a special session to bring New York’s eviction moratorium policy in line with federal guidance. A copy of the letter is available here.

“In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, temporarily halting evictions made sense, but with the state of emergency in New York now lifted, the state’s current moratorium on evictions is outdated and completely unnecessary,” said Leader Barclay. “Small landlords across the state have been struggling for more than a year to make mortgage payments, pay taxes and invest in upgrades themselves, and can ill-afford for the eviction moratorium to continue for another six weeks. To do right by them, the Legislature must reconvene for a special session to bring New York state’s guidance in line with the federal government.”

COVID-19 infection rates have diminished greatly, vaccination rates are rising daily and the economy is beginning to normalize as more people return to work. The state’s blanket moratorium on evictions, set to expire on August 31, is harmful to both landlords and tenants. The federal government’s order is set to expire on July 31, a full month before New York state.

“Thankfully, we are past the initial period of economic hardship that warranted the need for the eviction moratorium, but with each passing day, the stability of the housing market becomes more fragile as small landlords lose their homes to foreclosure, file for bankruptcy or stop renting altogether,” said Fitzpatrick, Ranking Minority Member on the Housing Committee. “To leave the state’s eviction moratorium in place until September is devastatingly cruel; it’s unsustainable. It’s time renters fulfill their obligations as tenants and pay their rent. It’s long past time property owners are afforded the same protections and rights as other New Yorkers.”

“When the Legislature extended the eviction moratorium in May, we warned that extending it for another four months would harm the housing sector,” said Byrne, Ranking Minority Member on the Health Committee. “The pandemic disaster declaration is over and yet the moratorium is still in effect until the end of August. This makes no sense. The state’s current guidance on this issue is outdated and lacks the numerous safeguards that the federal guidance would have in place. The state preached about following federal guidance on so many other areas throughout the pandemic, why wouldn’t it do so this time? For more than a year, landlords have been stripped of their rights while the scales have been tipped disproportionately in favor of tenants. The Legislature must rectify this by ending the state moratorium and simply follow the federal guidance which is set to expire at the end of July.”

“Despite pressure from our Conference, the state waited months to finally establish a program to assist renters, housing providers and small-business owners who faced severe financial losses as a result of the pandemic. Even more glaring, we’re learning New York is only one of four states that have not distributed any of its rent relief funds. The repeated delays are inexcusable at every level. The Legislature must take action now,” added Leader Barclay.