Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday that financial aid will be available to landlords whose tenants did not participate in the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program or have vacated with arrears.
The federal rent relief program required tenant participation in the application process. When a tenant did not apply or moved out without paying rent, the landlord had no avenue to receive the federal aid. New York’s Landlord Rental Assistance Program attempts to address that loophole by providing up to 12 months of past-due rent to landlords who are ineligible for the federal funds.
According to the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)—the state agency tasked with disbursing this $125 million—priority will be given to landlords owning small-to-medium-sized properties. To qualify, a landlord must be leasing units at, or below, 150 percent of fair market rent for their location and must have documented the rental arrears accumulated after March 1, 2020 that are owed by a tenant who either vacated the unit or is not participating in the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Property owners with buildings containing 20 or fewer units and those applying within the first 45 days of the program's opening date (Thursday, October 7) will be prioritized.
“Getting pandemic relief money out the door to New Yorkers has been a top priority for my administration since day one,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud that our state's rental assistance program has already provided much needed relief to tens of thousands of New Yorkers, but there are still many small landlords ineligible for that relief because of federal rules who also need our help. This funding is a critical tool to close that gap and help more New Yorkers recover from the pandemic.”
Senator Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the New York State Senate Housing Committee, noted, “The new State funding to pay rent arrears that are ineligible to be paid under our federally funded ERAP program demonstrates our commitment to a truly comprehensive approach. It's especially important that property owners whose tenants may have left their apartments after months of not being able to pay their rent will now be eligible for payments, ensuring that unpaid rent debts from this period will not continue to burden either the landlord or the tenant.”
This additional state funding will provide welcome assistance to those New Yorker renters who were shut out from federal relief through no fault of their own. How effectively will OTDA handle the disbursement of these funds? Only time will tell.
Applications can be submitted through OTDA’s online portal and funds will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
More information about the program can be found at otda.ny.gov/lrap.