New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams has strongly condemned Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to expand the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, describing it as a “half-measure.”
“On the first of the month, rent checks across the city are due, and the eviction moratorium has been allowed to expire. The governor’s half-measure of expanding the Tenant Safe Harbor Act is not a true moratorium on the eviction process, a process that will now begin to target tenants left with inadequate legal protection,” said Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants.
“Without a true moratorium, eviction cases can still be filed and advanced, and the burden will fall to tenants to prove they are eligible to stay in their homes, a burden which may prove too much for some of the vulnerable populations in our city and state, which have already felt immense pain in this pandemic,” he added.
“The governor’s executive order seems to demonstrate a greater interest in securing headlines than housing security,” Williams continued. “I hope that’s not the case.
“With COVID-19 cases once again rising, it’s imperative that he reinstates a true moratorium to keep New Yorkers in their homes — renters and homeowners alike — and cancel rent to keep New Yorkers from greater hardship,” he said.
On Sept. 28, the governor announced the extension of his Executive Order on residential tenant eviction protection, otherwise known as the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, to Jan. 1, 2021.
It protects tenants from COVID-related residential evictions and foreclosures through the COVID-19 emergency.
“We had extended the commercial eviction protection. I’m now extending the residential protection,” Cuomo said. “I want people to have fundamental stability in their lives. Nobody is going to be evicted because of housing.”
Cuomo said extension of the Act will protect additional residential tenants from eviction if they are suffering financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency.