As Eviction Moratorium Winds Down, 500K New Yorkers Owe $2.2 Billion in Back Rent

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 27, 2021

Half a million New Yorkers are staring down possible eviction, as the moratorium on evictions that has held for more than a year will soon end with $2.2 billion in back rent still owed, the New York Times reported. 

While the federal moratorium, which has been enacted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via executive action, ends in a few days, New York's eviction ban lasts until the end of August. In both cases, though, it appears unlikely that it will be extended again. Given the pandemic's major economic damage, many of these tenants will be unable to pay their back rents, meaning that a wave of evictions will likely come once the ban is dropped, which could lead to homelessness. 

New York has allocated $2.7 billion in assistance, which is ostensibly available to households earning less than 80 percent of the area median income ($95,450 for a family of four in New York City). This aid is meant to provide up to a year of back rent,  or more in the case of particularly low-income tenants. However, according to the Times, glitches and bureaucratic delays have meant that the state has distributed less than a million dollars in aid to the roughly 160,000 tenants who completed applications. The governor said the state will soon be rolling out a streamlined application process to make it easier to access the aid, but in the meanwhile said that it will take until about the end of August to distribute funds to qualifying tenants who've already applied. 

Landlords are not waiting around, however. The Times noted that there have been 62,000 eviction cases filed in New York City Housing Court since the start of the pandemic, representing 20 percent of all eviction cases filed in the 29 large cities across the country. 

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