New York’s landlords are urging politicians not to force through new legislation that sidesteps the Supreme Court’s ruling that has blocked the government from extending the federal eviction moratorium.
The Rent Stabilization Association, New York’s largest organization of building owners, are threatening to sue the Albany State Legislature if it attempts to defy the SCOTUS decision.
“If New York State lawmakers enact legislation that disregards and attempts to circumvent the decision by SCOTUS, we will immediately take legal action, this time asking for damages,” said Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which along with five individual landlords challenged the state’s eviction ban and won in a decision rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 12.
“Make no mistake, we will challenge any attempt by lawmakers to legislate an eviction moratorium that is contrary to the SCOTUS decision.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul has said she is meeting with leaders from the Legislature on a potential special session to address the end of the eviction moratorium tomorrow (Tuesday) with a view to extending the relief.
However, Strasburg said desperate tenants and landlords don’t need a special legislative session. “They need Albany to get the billions of dollars from the federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program out the door – yesterday, last week, two months ago,” said the RSA leader.
“Everyone in Albany claims they’re laser-focused on this task, yet they continue to bog down the process in politics, once again kicking the can down the road instead of putting rent relief money into the hands of hundreds of thousands of desperate New Yorkers. The mass eviction hysteria narrative would be eliminated and tenants would be protected in their homes if state government was doing its job.”
Strasburg noted that as of last week, just four percent of the state’s $2.6 billion federal rent relief funds have reached tenants and landlords – and that the U.S. Treasury Department bemoaned that only $5.1 billion of the total $46.5 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program have been distributed by state and local governments.
“We have contended for months that the absence of eviction moratoria will not result in mass eviction. Empty buildings are not the business model of landlords because property taxes, mortgages and other bills reliant on the rent stream are still due,” said Strasburg, noting that the Supreme Court’s ruling was “very clear,” noting, “These bans are unconstitutional and unlawfully place enormous burdens on property owners.”