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New York prepares for evictions as important renter protection is expected to lapse

New York prepares for evictions as important renter protection is expected to lapse

Jan 14 (Reuters) - A prohibition on housing evictions is expected to expire on Saturday in New York, resulting in substantial economic support put in place at the start of the epidemic, and establishing the foundation for a possible landlord's effort to oust low-income renters.

In March 2020, New York instituted an eviction moratorium, establishing it as the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, and extended it multiple times, even as a federal eviction ban and moratoriums in other states slowed.

Officials from both New York and New York expressed concern about the implications of ending the moratorium this week, estimating that 500,000 New Yorkers would require housing assistance in a time when the fast-spreading Omicron variant could continue to enrich social and economic life.

"It's going to be profound in New York," said Ellen Davidson, a legal expert for the Legal Aid Society. "We expect to see case filings explode and housing courts struggling to operate the way they did, pre-COVID."

Although many landlords may move immediately to evict tenants, Governor Kathy Hochul said this week that renters might effectively avoid eviction by applying for a rental relief program, even though the program has been depleted.

On Thursday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams joined Hochul in urging the federal government to provide an infusion of funds for the program, arguing that the most populous city in the United States has not received its fair share of federal rent relief.

Adams has written a video to promote the rights of tenants, highlighting that it is illegal for landlords to block tenants out of their homes and that all New Yorkers could be granted legal assistance.

According to Princeton University's Eviction Lab, eviction records have been filed in New York City since March 15, 2020.

It was unclear how many of these instances would progress now and how many new instances would emerge.

New York, according to Davidson, is particularly vulnerable compared to other states because it has a relatively high percentage of renters, many of whom are in low-income households. And she said the state had been "shortchanged" by the federal relief program, which was based on population rather than percentage of renters.

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