It’s May 1 and that means the rent is due. It also means that for many people, they have now been out of a job for well over a month. Unemployment claims are backed up, and many are still waiting for their benefits to roll in.
“This is something that we need, this is not something that we want,” one protester standing on his car yelled to the row of cars behind him. “This is important. People have lost their jobs, people are homeless. Governor Cuomo and legislators, do the right thing.”
“I get the people who say, nobody should have to pay rent,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his daily press briefing on Friday. “I get that argument. I get the landlords and the building owners who say if no one pays rent, I’m going to walk away from my building.”
Governor Cuomo did issue a moratorium on evictions until June for tenants that cannot pay rent. Debbie Pusatere, president of the Capital Region Apartment Association and Coalition Leader for Under One Roof, says she understands times are tough, but landlords also still have their bills to pay.
“I have taxes that are due in about a month and I’m about $30,000 short because I’m at a 35 percent loss right now with rent. It’s scary, we’re human beings, and we’re a small business. I’m not a huge landlord,” Pusatere explained.
Pusatere says she and many landlords around the state are working with tenants that are unable to pay rent. However, few are able to fill this large gap of unpaid bills. With the state broke, many landlords, are hoping the federal government will step in to provide rental assistance. Otherwise, many landlords could lose their buildings.
“A lady called me the other day, she lives in a two-family building, it’s her home, she has one tenant, she’s on social security ... that tenant pays a lot of the mortgage and they are refusing to pay. She’s beside herself because now she’s afraid she’s going to lose her home,” Pusatere said. “So yes many of the smaller landlords they live like a tenant would live paycheck to paycheck, a lot of us live rent check to rent check.”
Many tenants not paying rent, are also facing possible evictions once this moratorium is over. The governor says he will address this issue when it comes up.