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RSA readies lawsuit after Hochul extends eviction moratorium

Before New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature was barely dry on the new eviction moratorium law that she signed today, Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) – the largest landlord organization in New York and the country – announced that RSA will file a motion after Labor Day with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that seeks to block enforcement of the newly-minted law.

Strasburg said the Governor may as well have signed a death warrant for the thousands of mom-and-pop owners of small buildings who are at the edge of the cliff financially because tenants will be nearly two years behind in rent at the conclusion of the latest eviction moratorium.

“Making a few language changes to the prior law – whatever the Legislature could get passed on short notice – doesn’t make it a new law. It’s still unconstitutional, it still denies landlords due process rights, and it still tramples on property rights. We have always contended that Albany plays politics – and this reckless and ineffective ploy disguised as a law is proof of that,” said Strasburg. 

JOE STRASBURG

“No matter how Albany tries to spin the new law, it still doesn’t require tenants to show proof of COVID hardship – which means a significant universe of tenants will continue gaming the system and not pay rent, despite never losing their jobs or income. By signing this legislation into law today, the Governor is complicit with Albany lawmakers in their complete disregard of last month’s 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision that suspended the state’s enforcement of all elements of part of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Protection Act. This new law is the same as the old law,” added Strasburg, whose organization represents 25,000 diverse owners of more than one million apartments that house over 2.5 million New Yorkers in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the new law that extends the state’s eviction moratorium through January 15, 2022 after an emergency session of the legislature voted Wednesday to extend the COVID-driven ban on eviction and foreclosure for commercial and residential tenants who fell behind on their rent because of hardships caused by the pandemic.

“The pandemic has created unimaginable anxiety for families and business owners who have lost income and are struggling to pay the rent every month,” Governor Hochul said. “To help remedy the Supreme Court’s heartless decisions striking down the New York and the Biden administration’s moratoriums on evictions, we are enacting a new moratorium on residential and commercial evictions and extending the protections of New York’s Safe Harbor Act to January 15. These steps will alleviate the crisis facing vulnerable New Yorkers who are suffering through no fault of their own.”

New York’s previous eviction moratorium, which included foreclosure protections for property owners, expired Tuesday.

RSA said it will be seeking injunctive relief from enforcement of the new eviction moratorium law, and it will move to have the courts enforce last month’s SCOTUS ruling. 

“The eviction moratorium is a rent moratorium in disguise. The Governor claims compassion for thousands of small owners, but where is legislation that provides a moratorium on property taxes and other municipally mandated expenses? When those bills come due, the New York City Finance Department expects payment,” said Strasburg, whose organization, along with five individual landlords, challenged the state’s previous eviction ban and won in a decision rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 12.

“It’s sad and disturbing that the same politics-as-usual way of conducting business in Albany is driving important decisions on housing policy that impacts the lives of millions of renters and the landlords who provide affordable housing,” said Strasburg.

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