The federally imposed tenant safeguards expire this month, but New York extended a separate statewide moratorium for an additional month, through August.
New York’s housing courts are preparing to reopen for in-person hearings soon after the state moratorium is lifted, but it could take many months, and most likely longer, for the backlog in cases to clear. Even before the pandemic, an eviction case could take up to a year to be adjudicated.
Before the outbreak, New York City landlords filed between 140,000 to 200,000 eviction cases every year against tenants, who often found themselves on their own in court, without legal counsel, fighting to stay in their homes.
While most cases were resolved without a court-ordered eviction — 9 percent of the cases in 2017 resulted in an eviction, the city said — tens of thousands of New York City residents still lost their homes every year, while the rest had their names added to “tenant blacklists” shared among landlords.
Across the country, more than seven million households are behind on rent because of unemployment and lost wages, including about 500,000 in New York State, according to the census. Renters nationwide owe $5,600 on average in unpaid rent, according to a Moody’s report.
“Tenants have been living with extreme anxiety about whether they can stay in their homes,” said Cea Weaver, a tenant rights advocate and a strategist for the Housing Justice for All Coalition. “It has been psychologically traumatizing for tenants and especially for all the tenants who are parents. The tenant protections have been critical for saving people’s lives.”
Ms. Mangal never wanted to be a landlord. For years, she had lived in the upstairs unit of the house, owned by her mother, as just another tenant with her boyfriend, though she paid the “daughter discount” of $900 a month. Her mother, Ahutey Mangal, 70, collected $1,600 for the first-floor unit and $800 for the basement apartment.