New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo is the first state governor to put a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, specifically hitting pause for 90 days in his state. This is part of a $10B relief package that includes utility payments missed during this outbreak as the state (and all states) are strained by the global pandemic.
This will not only help renters to find stable footing as so many have lost their jobs overnight, but commercial renters (like restaurants) that are worried about being evicted during a time that they were shut down by the government.
#BREAKING: New York will implement a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants.
We will do all we can to help those financially suffering because of the #COVID19 pandemic.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 20, 2020
Reactions have mostly been positive, but many are still pushing for a freeze on rent, essentially rent forgiveness during this period since mortgage holders can roll their 90 days on to the end of their loan term, but renters cannot.
An evictions moratorium without a rent freeze is just going to permanently indebt us to landlords and inevitably evict us. The majority of us already live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford back-rent as we’re barely even able to afford current rents. Mass evictions will occur.
— Venmo @Cynthia-Prisco (@bigbronxenergy) March 20, 2020
For many landlords, rent is their exclusive income and they have very few units, but they too will be under a mortgage freeze on their buildings under this Order, providing some relief. Not to mention Tax Day just moved from April 15 to July 15.
Meanwhile, a state group, Housing Justice for All, is calling for the rehousing of every homeless individual using emergency rent assistance and in vacant homes. They cite the risk of viral spread through the homeless shelter system, as well as viral possibilities among homeless people living on the streets.
There is no known answer in this time of being tested, but a freeze on rents and mortgages in New York will likely lead to other governors taking the same route, and renters might be able to breathe a little better soon, especially those who have lost their jobs and independent contractors whose business immediately died on the vine.
We’ll be watching for other states’ reactions to rents and mortgage payments.