Property owners across New York are bracing for a four-month extension of a ban on evictions.
“We have to keep paying the bills,” said Debbie Pusatere, who owns several rental properties around the Capital Region.
Right now, Pusatere is overseeing the renovation of a housing unit in Cohoes that a longtime tenant abandoned.
“She left without paying me a dime,” Pusatere said. “She knew she was protected and said, 'Why should I pay you? You can’t kick me out.'”
Landlords across the state have been barred from evicting tenants for months due to coronavirus relief measures. Now, Governor Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers are extending the moratorium through at least April.
“There is a big disconnect and a problem,” Pusatere said. “There is no help for the small landlord.”
But Cuomo says property owners and renters will be protected with the new legislation.
“We want to make sure that homeowners are protected, that it doesn't affect their credit rating, there's no mortgage foreclosure,” the governor said at a press conference Monday. “We want to protect tenants. We want to make it simple. We don't want people evicted. We don't want them to have to go to court to fight the eviction."
Pusatere says only about half of her tenants paid their rent this month. She says many have fallen on hard times, and that she is working things out with several families, but others are exploiting the ban.
“When you have someone in the food chain that can pay, that doesn’t pay, you can call it human nature or whatever, but that hurts everybody else,” she said.
Pusatere says eviction is the only tool available to hold tenants accountable, and the process can actually help tenants get the assistance they need.
“These poor tenants who truly need a good landlord, like I feel I am, you’re going to lose me out of this business because you’ve taken away the ability to make a living,” she said.