LORD, FORGIVE US OUR RENTS ....
Struggling to stay afloat amidst the COVID craziness, New York’s landlords and tenants are both looking to the state’s legislature for relief.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie were pressured by more than 60 tenant advocacy groups to push for a statewide COVID-19 stimulus package. An important aspect of that deal includes a “hardship fund,” which would effectively allow owners to cancel certain rental obligations.
Whether the state legislature would be amenable to this type of arrangement is still up for debate, as NY’s leaders are still trying to wrangle with slowing down the spread of the virus. Over the weekend, Governor Cuomo attended a summit of New England governors to discuss cooperation in imposing comparable COVID restrictions in neighboring jurisdictions.
The call for owner-based relief came after New York Senate Deputy Leader, Michael Gianaris, made a plea to President-Elect Joe Biden to provide more aid to tenants and small businesses in the form of rent forgiveness. That request sent landlords into a rage. Joseph Strasburg, President of the Rent Stabilization Association, claimed that such actions would “send the city into an abyss of unprecedented economic devastation and implode the affordable housing infrastructure for millions of families.”
It’s no secret that thousands of tenants have already stopped paying rent and that the single thread preventing landlords from changing the locks is the likelihood that all abated rental obligations must be satisfied upon the cessation of all COVID-19 restrictions. Should a rental forgiveness proposition be passed, without a stipend large enough to compensate all owners, the long forgotten “self-help” era could rear its ugly head.
While the entire nation seems to be holding its breath on the rumors of a second federal stimulus and a vaccine, that may all be too remote to save small landlords who are up to their necks in property tax and operation related charges while facing plummeting rent rolls. The desired relief package could see these vulnerable owners (and their tenants) through the winter, when having heat, hot water, and electricity for buildings are the most crucial.
If an appropriate and pragmatic stimulus package can pass, perhaps all the real-estate players will be able to weather the COVID storm and benefit from some sort of a trickle-down – and we ain’t talking rain or snow.
SOURCE: quote from https://rew-online.com/nyc-landlords-condemn-call-to-cancel-rents/