With New York’s moratorium on residential evictions now expired, landlords have been rushing to evict non-paying tenants across the state. While this was sadly predictable, what is less predictable is that some landlords are going forward with evictions even against tenants who have been approved for rental assistance. As a result, tenants are facing legal troubles as they try to prove in court that they should not be evicted, even as their landlords try to throw them out of their homes.
What is Rental Assistance?
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) was originally passed in 2020, and was put into place to help people who were struggling to pay rent in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It gave money to the states to help struggling renters, which would help them to stay in their homes despite the economic disruptions caused by COVID and various quarantine measures. New York’s own ERAP program was quite successful, eventually ending in November 2021 after running out of funding.
What Are Landlords Doing?
In theory, landlords with tenants who are approved for rental assistance through ERAP are not supposed to evict those tenants while they are receiving assistance, unless they otherwise violate the terms of their lease. However, despite getting approved for rental assistance, landlords are moving ahead with evictions against these tenants. In some cases, they either deny that their tenants have received rental assistance, or outright refuse to accept the assistance.
Why Are Landlords Doing This?
In some cases, landlords are going ahead with evictions against tenants approved for assistance because the amount of assistance they are receiving does not cover the amount of back rent they owe. In other cases, however, landlords seem overly eager to throw out their non-paying tenants, even after their back rent is covered by ERAP. Evicting these tenants, after all, can allow them to raise their rent, and get other tenants who can pay their own rent, and some landlords are willing to lie to the court to make that happen.
What Can Tenants Do?
Fortunately, tenants facing eviction in this circumstance have legal rights they can assert in court. To give yourself the best odds in your eviction case, though, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling landlord-tenant matters. They can discuss your case and help you come up with a legal strategy that can protect your rights and ensure you get the best outcome possible.
If you have questions regarding your rights as a landlord or tenant, you should seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling these matters. A New York landlord-tenant lawyer, who is experienced in handling landlord-tenant cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you are facing a dispute over unpaid rent, lease violations, or other similar issues, contact the Suffolk County landlord-tenant attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.