New York City is launching a public education campaign on housing rights as the state’s eviction moratorium ends this Saturday, Mayor Eric Adams announced.
The end of the eviction moratorium, which first took effect in March 2020, will allow landlords to pursue eviction actions in housing courts.
“This is not only professional, it's personal,” Adams said at a Thursday news conference. “I know what it is to live on the verge of homelessness.”
The moratorium is ending as the state recently received only a fraction of the money it requested from the federal government to give to tenants and landlords in rent relief. The state requested nearly $1 billion, but only received $27 million.
“That is insulting to our state, and it is not going to solve the problem we need to solve,” Adams said.
In a video released shortly before the news conference, Adams outlined three pieces of the public education campaign.
- Lockouts without a court order are illegal in the city, regardless of immigration status or the type of residence. Residents who are experiencing an illegal lockout can call 911, or 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline. More information on illegal lockouts can be found here. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/mayorspeu/resources/illegal-lockouts.page
- All city residents have a right to free counsel when facing eviction proceedings or if they live in a New York City Housing Development Authority unit and have an administrative proceeding. Free tenant attorneys are provided by city nonprofit legal services providers. Residents can call 311 and tell the operator they are calling about “right to counsel.”
- Residents facing rent hardship can apply for the emergency rental assistance program, or ERAP. While there is limited funding in the program, applying for ERAP provides tenants with some temporary eviction protections. Lawmakers have cautioned that those who have applied for ERAP can still be evicted.
The city’s public engagement unit will be “proactively reaching out to tens of thousands of New Yorkers” who may face eviction risk, according to Jasmine Batista, the unit’s tenant outreach director.
Adams has not appointed a deputy mayor of housing, a position that mayors before him have created to coordinate housing policy, especially in developing affordable housing.
“We are still evolving, and we will make a determination if we need a deputy mayor” for housing,” Adams said Thursday.
Adams said he would also take part in an additional public service announcement to encourage residents to report doors that do not close on their own, as required by city law. Fire officials have said that a faulty self-closing mechanism on a door in a Bronx building allowed smoke from a fire to quickly fill the 19-story development on Sunday, killing 17 people.
Adams did not announce any increase in city inspections of self-closing door mechanisms, but promised that the administration would create an “easy system” for reporting malfunctions with the mechanisms. Residents can currently call 311 to report such issues to the city’s housing department.