Update 7/31/20: The deadline to apply for the rent relief program has been extended by one week to Thursday, August 6.
A new rent relief program launched Tuesday that provides subsidies to eligible low-income New Yorkers financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. First signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month, the assistance program helps low-income households experiencing increased rent burden due to a loss of income because of COVID-19 by sending a one-time subsidy directly to landlords. The payment covers the difference between a household’s rent burden on March 1 and the increase in rent burden for up to four months. Applicants must meet several eligibility requirements to qualify for the program.
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New York tenants cannot be evicted for any unpaid rent accrued during the coronavirus crisis, according to a law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday night. Sponsored by State Sens. Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, the Tenant Safe Harbor Act protects renters who have not paid rent between March 7 and the to-be-determined date when their region fully reopens, as long as they can prove they experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis.
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The Rent Guidelines Board on Wednesday voted to freeze rents for one year for rent-regulated apartments, offering tenants temporary relief in the current economic recession caused by the coronavirus. The nine-member board approved a measure that freezes rent for one-year leases and for the first year of two-year leases, which can increase 1 percent during the second year.
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The moratorium on residential and commercial evictions will be extended statewide by 60 days until August 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday. Additional rent relief measures include a ban on fees for late-payments and allowing renters to use security deposits as payment. “I don’t want to see people and their children being evicted at this time, through no fault of their own,” the governor said during a press briefing.
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With more than a million New Yorkers out of work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many tenants will struggle to pay rent on Friday. Hoping to pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cancel rent for the duration of the health crisis, a coalition of housing advocates is leading a statewide rent strike on May 1, with thousands of renters already pledging to skip payments. But landlords, who argue rental income pays for the growing costs of building maintenance, are fighting for relief themselves.
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A coalition of housing and tenant advocacy groups is calling for a statewide rent strike on May 1 with the goal of pressuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cancel rent for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. Led by the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance, the coordinated protest is seeking cancellation of rents for at least four months, a freeze on rent for every tenant, and a plan to house homeless New Yorkers.
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Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday urged the state to act on a number of rent relief proposals amid the coronavirus pandemic, including a deferment of rents for tenants, the use of pre-paid security deposits in lieu of rent, and an extension of the current moratorium on evictions. The mayor has also called on the Rent Guidelines Board–the entity that determines yearly rent increases for the city’s rent-stabilized units–to enact a rent freeze.
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Just 69 percent of apartment renters in the United States paid rent during the first week of April, according to a new report released this week by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC). This a decrease of 12 percentage points compared to the percentage of households that paid rent last month. The data is one of the first looks at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic–which has put millions of Americans out of work– on the housing market.
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Some New York City landlords are providing their tenants financial respite during the coronavirus pandemic by waiving or discounting rent. The sudden closure of much of the economy has resulted in the loss of income for millions of New Yorkers, a burden felt especially by the city’s five million renters. One landlord who owns 18 buildings in Brooklyn suspended rent for the month of April for all of his tenants. Another is giving a Manhattan pizzeria owner three months of free rent as he continues to feed hospital workers at no charge.
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Evictions have been halted. Mortgage payments have been suspended. What about rents? New York renters, elected officials, and tenant advocacy groups are calling for a temporary rent freeze to provide financial relief to both workers and businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents parts of Queens, will introduce a measure on Monday that would suspend rent payments for 90 days for tenants and small businesses, as the Daily News first reported.