Republican leaders weigh-in on potential eviction moratorium extension

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With Gov. Kathy Hochul bringing the state legislature back for a special session to discuss the possibility of extending the eviction moratorium that was set to expire Tuesday night, some local Republican leaders are in opposition of the new governor’s plan.

Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay, Senator Pam Helming, ranker of Housing, Construction and Community Development and Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick, member of the Housing Committee, held a press conference Wednesday at the New York State Capitol to discuss the governor’s potential moratorium extension plan.

“My Senate Republican colleagues and I have repeatedly urged One-Party Rule in New York to deliver long-overdue relief to thousands of struggling tenants and landlords. Instead, they seem determined to consume themselves with repetitive efforts to ‘cancel rent’ forever. To be clear, it is New York Democrats who have failed to distribute any significant amount of relief through the disastrous program they enacted in the late budget. Their failure to deliver these critical funds, combined with their never-ending moratoriums is an implicit acknowledgement of their own incompetence. Deliver the relief now,” said Leader Ortt.

Republicans say a continuation of the eviction moratorium would do more harm than good in the long run as many property owners struggle to survive without guaranteed payment from tenants as back rent continues to pile up.

“New York has known since last December that it would be getting billions in federal aid to assist tenants and landlords devastated by the pandemic. Her ewer are nine months later, and still, only four percent of these funds have been distributed. My Senate Republican colleagues and I called for this federal aid to be removed from the budget process to expedite the distribution, but Senate Democrats refused our request. Senator Boyle and I led two virtual roundtables with housing community stakeholders to facilitate greater support for tenants and landlords, and we’ve submitted recommendations to New York’s Office of Court Administration. That includes opening our housing courts to help bring more eligible applicants into the program. I also continue to urge the Senate Majority to deliver Senate Bill S.6481 to the governor, a bipartisan bill I co-sponsored, so we can earmark the $100 million in state funds in the ERAP program to mom-and-pop property owners whose tenants vacated their units while owing rent. The distribution of these funds must continue to be our focus and priority,” said Senator Helming.

“Since January, $2.6 billion in federal emergency rental assistance funding has been available to landlords and tenants, and yet OTDA has repeatedly failed to deliver to those struggling to make ends meet,” said Leader Barclay. “The state’s eviction moratorium expired yesterday, but here we – the Legislature – are today, back in Albany for an emergency Special Session to address a matter that should have been resolved long before now. Had the rent-relief program been administered by the state properly, and in the manner in which the federal government intended in the first place, tenants who have fallen on difficult times due to COVID and small-property owners who have received no income for the past 18 months, would have been in a far better financial position. Once and for all, OTDA must get its act together and ease the fiscal insecurity for landlords and tenants alike.”

With the Hochul Administration now in office, Republicans were hoping for new leadership that would express more bi-partisan support, instead calling it One-Party Rule that is failing to deliver relief through New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

 “It is extremely concerning that, once again, Assembly Democrats are seeking to extend the eviction moratorium leaving property owners without protections for nearly a year and a half. This legislation will only ensure that landlords will have to reach deeper into their own personal savings and loans to cover mounting expenses, including mortgages, utilities and property taxes. Instead, the state should be focused on distributing billions in federal financial assistance in a more efficient manner to get help to those truly facing hardship, while also allowing for legal protections for small-housing providers,” said Assemblyman Fitzpatrick, Ranking Minority Member on the Housing Committee.

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