Bill would protect renters and homeowners during COVID-19 crisis

Photo Courtesy of NY Senate Media Services
Senator Julia Salazar speaks at rally in the state Capitol on Feb. 25, 2020 to make housing more affordable and reduce evictions. A bill she sponsors would provide a rent freeze and mortgage freeze for both tenants and homeowners to preserve safe, clean and affordable housing during the COVID-19 crisis.

A housing-relief bill aimed at ensuring affordable housing for New Yorkers during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is moving through both the Senate and Assembly in recent days.

The Emergency Coronavirus Affordable Housing Preservation Act of 2020, or the “Relief For All” (A.10318/S.8190) bill, would provide financial relief for homeowners, tenants, small businesses and nonprofit affordable housing providers in New York. 

“By passing Relief For All, we can preserve affordable housing, while keeping families in their homes and businesses afloat,” said Senator Julia Salazar said. “With no home left behind, and every rent paid, this is a unity bill that meets the needs of this moment.” 

The ECAHPA bill would reduce or cancel rent for residential and commercial small business tenants, ensuring the individual tenants and business owners who have lost income because of the pandemic and stay-at-home order have a safe and affordable place to stay.

The legislation would also provide state and federal funding for small property owners and the nonprofit housing providers, who have lost rental income. In addition, it would urge the banks not to punish the individuals or businesses who temporarily suspend their mortgage payments. The full text of the bill can be found here. 

The goal of the legislation is to ensure that safe, sanitary and affordable housing is available to New York residents who are vulnerable to the health dangers and economic hardship brought about by the COVID-19 public emergency.

“Tenants are in crisis right now. An eviction moratorium is simply not enough to protect them, especially poor people of color,” said Shekar Krishnan, attorney and chief program officer at Communities Resist. 

The bill, sponsored in the Assembly by Joseph Lentol, D-North Brooklyn, is considered beneficial in addition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 90-day rent moratorium, because it would lead to immediate financial relief to the New York tenants and property owners, as well as more financial aid to the housing providers to ensure the houses remain safe and in good condition.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of many New Yorkers and we must do all we can to restore stability in their lives,” said Assemblyman Lentol.