Not only Covid-19 has taken the lives of at least 24,000 New Yorkers but also thousands lost their jobs. This has been declared as a national emergency and efforts are being made by the city’s higher authorities to control it. To cope up with the financial hardships due to coronavirus, the local government has passed a bill on April 22, 2020, related to rental assistance and mortgage payments. The bill provided much-needed temporary relief to the commercial and residential tenants who are suffering the economic hardships amid coronavirus.
The key points of the executive order are as follows:
- A new bill was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
- A total of $100 million will be distributed among New Yorkers as rent subsidies amid the pandemic. However, to receive the amount, the person must be eligible according to set criteria as laid down by the law.
- All qualifying New Yorkers are relieved of their mortgage payments until August 2020, under the new law related to mortgage forbearance.
- No rental evictions can take place until 20 August 2020 under the Cuomo bill. Plus, another Act called the Tenant Safe Harbor Act gives protection to residents from eviction if the rent was not paid due to financial loss because of Covid-19. This Act covers the time period starting from 7 March 2020 till the end of lockdown. Landlords, however, can ask for proper explanations and proof from the tenants whether unpaid rent is due to the pandemic or not.
- Those citizens who are suffering or have suffered from coronavirus financial hardships are given the exclusive facility of mortgage forbearance for 180 days. This relief can be further extended to another 180 days as well.
- New York City residents can contact the “Tenant Helpline” at 311. Here they can avail legal advice related to their rent-related questions and issues absolutely free.
- No landlord can evict any resident because he/she is suffering from Covid-19 or is under home-quarantine.
Covid-19 State level Rent Relief: San Diego
Covid-19 has become a major health crisis in the state of San Diego as well and countless households are struggling for financial stability. The City Council of San Diego has taken an important step by approving the Emergency Rent Relief Program for the low-income individuals and families living there. The federal government will provide $15.1 million in funds to the state for supporting such people. The San Diego Housing Commission announced that this emergency relief fund will be distributing $4,000 per family to at least 3,500 households. Residents will be able to apply for cash assistance through the website of the Housing Commission.
The relief program will take extra care while distributing the funds. For example, families, where there is more number of children or aged people over 62 years of age, will be given priority. Additionally, only residents with legal immigration status will be considered eligible. If the household is earning less than 60% of the San Diego Area Median Income, then only it will get the money. The tenant must have no savings and must be directly affected by the pandemic to get the relief money.
The SBRF or Small Business Relief Fund is another big venture of the City of San Diego. Through this fund, grants and 0% interest rate loans will be given to the citizens. This Ordinance, as San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer claims, will help tenants, lenders, and landlords alike. It will stop city-wide homelessness issues and support many households.
A citywide eviction ban has been put into effect which will continue till September 30, 2020. The City Council can extend the date if they deem necessary. So if a tenant is unable to pay the rent that was due at or after 20 March 2020, the landlords cannot take any action. However, the tenant must notify his/her landlord at his earliest and in proper written format. This notification must be followed by verifiable documents that prove the tenant’s financial situation amid the coronavirus outbreak. These can include tenant’s bank statements, termination letter, medical bills, payroll records, or any other relevant paper. However, if the tenant is faking it and couldn’t produce any relevant proof, the landlord can take the actions necessary. If the tenant moves from the apartment, all rent will be due till the date he/she moved out. All unpaid rent must be paid to the landlord once the relief time period has passed as no tenant’s rent is forgiven forever.
Some other steps taken by the San Diego government are:
- To address homelessness, the San Diego Convention Center and the Golden Hall will be converted into shelters. This program is the “Operation Shelter to Home”
- The Single-Family Home Loan Servicing Hardship Program is introduced. This program will grant monitory assistance in terms of deferred payments (for up to 120 days) to eligible and needy households.
- Those people who are not receiving any federal rental assistance during the pandemic and reside in a property owned by or under the San Diego Housing Commission SDHC can get relief at the state level. their rents (whole or part of) will be delayed for at least 4 months time