ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s legislature was set to convene for a special session Wednesday to potentially extend the state’s moratorium on evictions, put in place to protect tenants and property owners who fell behind on their rent or their mortgage because of hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced a 6 p.m. news conference. Though they did not reveal the nature of the event, the timing would imply a rent-related announcement.
The moratorium was set to expire at the end of the day Tuesday. If lawmakers decide to extend the moratorium, they will have to change how it works.
On Aug. 12 the U.S. Supreme Court nixed part of the moratorium that allowed tenants to pause eviction proceedings simply by filing a form declaring they’d had a pandemic-related hardship.
Protesters marched on Hochul’s Manhattan office — blocking traffic along Third Avenue for a time — demanding she called the legislature back into session to extend the states eviction moratorium.
But she says the best thing people can do for now is apply for the emergency rental assistance program.
It protects tenants for up to a year after they apply for the money and ultimately will pay landlords to help them with their mortgages and other expenses.
Hochul’s promise to get more COVID-19 rental assistance money into the hands of struggling New York tenants has taken on new urgency after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s temporary federal ban on evictions. The court ruling Thursday meant New Yorkers behind on their rent because of pandemic financial hardship will have fewer protections when the state’s own eviction ban expires Aug. 31. New York’s rental relief program got off to a slow start. It’s supposed to dole out more than $2.4 billion to renters. But as of Monday, the state had distributed only $200 million of that money.