Rental assistance to pay back rent, landlords unsure if they’ll see money

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Help is on the way for tenants who have struggled to pay rent during the pandemic. Starting June 1, people can apply for state aid, which can pay up to 12 months in back rent.

Some landlords aren’t optimistic they’ll recoup their money.

“Tenants are — 95 percent of them are great. It’s the five to ten percent of them that cause 95 percent of your headaches,” said Albany Landlord Asaf Elkayan.

Elkayan said he’s owed $250,000 in back rent for his properties.

“I’m sick and tired of having our hands handcuffed, and tied, and we can’t get our properties back — can’t get rid of bad tenants. We deserve our day in court,” Elkayan said. 

Elkayan’s said he’s sent applications for an Emergency Rental Assistance Program to dozens of tenants that would pay the landlord up to 12 months of back rent. Only thing, he said two out of his about 30 tenants have responded. 

Lawmakers like Assemblyman John McDonald hope to mend relationships between landlords and tenants.

“[Landlords] are one of the few entities that weren’t eligible for PPP. They weren’t eligible for the small business loan. And that’s why in the budget process, with the help of the federal funding, we put this process in place,” McDonald said. 

If a tenant doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity, like in the case of Elkayan, $100 million has been put aside for landlords, but that money is not going to be immediately available. 

“We’d have to go back and petition the federal government for some ability to adjust the program a little bit,” McDonald said. 

The money comes with stipulations. Landlords who accept money from the fund are not allowed to evict their tenants for one year. It also waives late fees.

Head to the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance online for more information on qualifications and to learn how to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

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