New York renters have money but are REFUSING to pay rent and taking advantage of eviction moratoriums, landlords claim
- Landlords say that some tenants are taking advantage of eviction ban
- Accuse them of refusing to pay rent though even though they still have income
- One landlord says the trend is ‘spreading like a cancer’ as tenants learn about it
- National survey finds 294,224 fewer households paid rent in January from 2020
- Joe Biden last week extended a federal ban on evictions until March 31
- It’s unclear whether there will be mass evictions when the ban expires
Residential tenants are taking advantage of a national ban on evictions by refusing to pay rent even though they haven’t lost income in the pandemic, landlords claim.
Deborah Pusatere, president of the New York Capital Region Apartment Association in Albany, says she doesn’t have the cash to cover property taxes on the apartment buildings she manages.
‘Depending on the social scene a tenant runs in, the bad behavior is contagious. So when tenant one tells tenant two they don’t have to pay, tenant two tests the waters and realizes there is nothing you can do and it spreads like cancer,’ Pusatere told the Albany Times Union.
‘Especially when you have buildings next to each other and tenants know each other,’ she added.
A federal ban on evictions was recently extended to March 31, and negotiations are still ongoing in Congress on a massive rental assistance package that could help struggling tenants, but it remains unclear what will happen when the eviction ban expires.
New York landlords claim that some renters are refusing to pay despite having the money. Above, tenants and housing advocates march in Harlem in October
Pusatere said that some of her tenants had been legitimately impacted by the pandemic, which has led to millions of job losses, but claimed that many more were taking advantage of the situation.
Recent survey data from the National Multifamily Housing Council found that just 88.6 percent of apartment households across the country made a full or partial rent payment by January 20.
This is a 2.5 percentage point, or 294,224 household decrease from the share who paid rent through January 20 of last year, and compares to 89.8 percent that had paid by December 20, 2020.
In many areas, local prohibitions on evictions have been in place for nearly a year.
The Trump administration instituted a national eviction moratorium in September, and last week President Joe Biden extended that ban through March 31.
Just 88.6 percent of apartment households across the country made a full or partial rent payment by January 20, a 294,224 household decrease from January of last year
With most of the state and local eviction bans now expired, the federal ban is the only remaining protection preventing the more than 23 million renters from being evicted.
Nobody is certain what might happen when the federal ban is finally allowed to expire, though many fear a massive wave of evictions.
In New York City, residential tenants currently owe more than $1 billion in missed rent, with around 185,000 apartments at least two months behind on payments.
A stark survey released this month by landlord group the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) revealed the extent of rental debt New Yorkers are grappling with as the city continues to be hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It shows that residential tenants of rent-regulated apartments owe around $1.14 billion in unpaid rent with the average renter in debt owing $6,173.21.
In New York City, residential tenants currently owe more than $1 billion in missed rent. Above, a demonstrator calls on Gov. Cuomo to cancel rent at a protest in September
A staggering 50,000 individual tenants owe over $15,000 in missed payments. This is equivalent to around 11 months rent, CHIP says, based on the average monthly rent of $1,400 for a rent-regulated apartment.
This means almost 6 percent of tenants have failed to pay rent at all since March, when the pandemic first hit New York, and stay-at-home orders shuttered businesses, throwing millions into unemployment.
The latest pandemic stimulus bill includes $25 billion in rental assistance, intended to help struggling renters make up overdue rent payments.
However, the tenant must apply for the assistance, leaving some landlords frustrated that they would be unable to access the benefits directly.