Weekly Report for May 28, 2021
Applications for Emergency Rental Assistance to be accepted June 1 starting at 9 a.m.
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) will start accepting applications for the state’s $2.7 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 1. Documentation required for the application from both tenants and landlords can be found here. To qualify, tenants must have a household gross income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) – other eligibility requirements can be found here. The application process will prioritize vulnerable New Yorkers who are unemployed or earn at or below 50% of the AMI during the first 30 days, and applications will be processed on a first come, first-served basis after that for as long as funds remain available.
Households approved for ERAP may receive:
- Up to 12 months of rental arrears payments for rents accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
- Up to 3 months of additional rental assistance if the household is expected to spend 30 percent or more of their gross monthly income to pay for rent.
- Up to 12 months of electric or gas utility arrears payments for arrears that have accrued on or after March 13, 2020.
Payments will be made directly to the landlord/property owner and utility company on behalf of the tenant.
Seven communities that received funding for emergency rental assistance directly from the federal government opted to administer their own programs. Residents of City of Rochester and Monroe County, the City of Yonkers, Onondaga County and the towns of Hempstead, Islip and Oyster Bay must apply with their local programs for emergency rental assistance and are ineligible for assistance from the state-administered Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
DOS releases updated guidance allowing landlords’ agents to collect broker fees
The state has issued new guidance authorizing broker fees, following a lawsuit from NYSAR and other interested parties that yielded a court ruling defeating an earlier ban. Updated guidance released by the New York Department of State this week affirms that brokers who represent residential landlords, rather than tenants, can collect fees from prospective renters – a practice that the state had previously sought to ban. Early last year, the agency released a rule that broker fees exceeding $20 must be passed on to landlords.
Weekly Report for May 21, 2021
NYSAR issues statewide Call for Action – Tell state lawmakers to end cold calling ban
Right now, REALTORS® are being shut out of conducting cold calls due to the ongoing State of Emergency in New York. This is impeding business and we need to urge state lawmakers to put an end to the cold call ban now. For more information and to complete the Call for Action, click here. NYSAR staff has been working with Assemblymember Michael Cusick (Staten Island) and Senator James Gaughran (Long Island) to introduce an amended bill (A.6756-A/S.6967) to resolve this issue. The State Legislature is scheduled to conclude business for the year on June 10.
NYSAR continues meetings with lawmakers on coop transparency and fair housing
This week, NYSAR staff held a productive meeting with long-time coop transparency bill sponsor Assemblymember Nick Perry (Brooklyn). During the meeting, we expressed support for Assemblymember Perry’s bill (A.1623/S.2874) and urged that it be included in any potential fair housing bill package being considered in the Assembly. NYSAR staff held similar meetings with Assembly Housing Committee staff earlier this month and will continue to advocate for passage of the bill before end of session.
NYSAR opposes new climate tax and expansion of freshwater wetlands proposals
Following direction from NYSAR’s Legislative Steering Committee, NYSAR issued memos in opposition to a pair of legislative bills. One proposal would establish the Climate and Community Investment Act, creating a new tax and fee structure regulating carbon emissions and air pollutants. Estimates have shown the impact of this bill would raise the price of gas by approximately $.55 per gallon and raise home heating fuel and natural gas costs by about 26 percent. The other bill NYSAR opposed would increase the scope of the DEC to regulate and create new freshwater wetland zones. The bill removes critical government transparency and oversight mechanisms when mapping boundaries of freshwater wetlands and would negatively impact residential and commercial development. You can read NYSAR’s memos here and here.
State lawmakers propose changes to rent relief program
State lawmakers are seeking to amend New York’s recently adopted rent relief program to comply with new federal guidelines, but some landlords feel the changes still leave the door open to future conflicts with tenants. Sen. Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the Senate Housing Committee, introduced a bill this week that would revise the state program to match recent guidance from the Department of Treasury. The measure increases the number of months of rent arrears the program covers from 12 to 18. Payments can be dedicated to future rent for up to three of those months. The bill also permits evictions in cases where a tenant has engaged in “nuisance” behavior and proposes changes to the state’s eviction and foreclosure protections, which would be extended to owners of properties with 50 or fewer apartments rather than the current 10. It would also provide foreclosure protections to certain co-ops. Read more here.
Weekly Report for May 14, 2021
New Yorkers still waiting to apply for emergency rental assistance
The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), which runs the state’s recently approved $2.4 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program, has updated its website to provide eligibility criteria, however has not released an application process to date. To apply, landlords will have to provide a W-9 form, their tenant’s lease, the amount of back rent owed and banking information. Renters must provide identification, a Social Security number if they have one and proof of rent owed, residency and income. Both parties will need to sign the application form to receive arrears. Visit OTDA’s website for updates and more information here.
Albany residents: Take Action to oppose local Good Cause Eviction proposal
If you are an Albany resident, Take Action today to help oppose Local Law F before the Albany Common Council, which would impose a good cause eviction standard in the city of Albany. This proposal would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants except under strict circumstances, even when a tenant’s lease has expired, and would place government restrictions on the amount a property owner could increase their rent. Jeffrey Decatur, President of the Greater Capital Association of Realtors® recently wrote on this issue, which was published in the Albany Times Union. You can also visit www.protectalbanytenants.com for more information.
Weekly Report for May 7, 2021
NYS announces new loan program for small landlords and businesses
The state recently announced a new program called the New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF), which is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting small businesses and nonprofits as they reopen and small residential landlords with under 200 units who have seen a loss of rental income. Pre-applications for the New York Forward Loan Fund are now open. Small residential landlords can apply for a loan in the amount the lesser of (a) $100,000 or (b) projected reduction in 6-months’ net operating income based on actual reductions in net operating income for the month of April or May 2020. The fixed annual interest rate on the loan will be 3 percent. You can find more information on the application process and eligibility requirements here.
Gov. Cuomo signs law extending residential and commercial eviction moratoriumsOn May 4, Governor Cuomo signed into law an extension of the Covid Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act and the Emergency Protect our Small Businesses Act prohibiting residential and commercial evictions, foreclosure proceedings, credit discrimination and negative credit reporting related to the COVID-19 pandemic until August 31, 2021. Read more here. NYSAR opposed extending the state’s eviction moratorium and expressed concerns during our Lobby Day. Additionally, on Wednesday, a federal judge struck down the nationwide eviction moratorium ruling that the CDC exceeded its authority. This ruling, however, does not impact New York’s recently approved eviction moratorium extension.
NY HERO Act signed into law establishing new workplace minimum standards to protect from airborne diseases
On May 5, Governor Cuomo signed into law the NY HERO Act, which will require the state Department of Labor to develop and enforce minimum standards for businesses to protect workers from the spread of airborne, infectious diseases. The new standards are expected to address several areas, including when face coverings would be required in the workplace and what kind of ventilation businesses will need going forward. The new law also allows for daily fines to be imposed for non-compliance and allows workers to bring employers to court to collect damages up to $20,000. The Legislature agreed to amend the law to allow businesses to correct violations of the new standards to avoid litigation from their workers. Read more here.