New York state lawmakers will return to Albany Wednesday for a special session called by Gov. Kathy Hochul to amend and extend the state’s eviction moratorium and address the slow disbursement of Emergency Rent Relief Program (ERAP) funds.
Regarding the state’s eviction moratorium, Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris told Capital Tonight that lawmakers will fix the law to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month.
“We are going to make a fix that allows landlords who have reason to believe a tenant is not being truthful about their hardship to present evidence that they in fact are not experiencing a hardship,” Gianaris said. “That way, we would be providing a process that the Supreme Court said it required.”
Lawmakers will also extend the moratorium through mid-January.
“We thought, let’s get through this year, certainly,” he said. “Let’s get it to the point where we will be back in regular session, which we will be by mid-January so we can re-evaluate it then.”
The second issue lawmakers will address Wednesday is the state’s $2.7 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
ERAP provides households at or below 80% of the area median income that have experienced COVID-related hardship with 12 months of back rent accrued since March 13, 2020. It will also pay up to three months toward future rent and up to 12 months of utility and gas payments.
Getting the money out the door to landlords and renters who need it has been slow-going, something Gianaris blames on the Cuomo administration.
“I can only assume, like so many programs over the last couple of months, the Cuomo administration was so distracted, was so paralyzed by his scandals that they weren’t moving in the direction they needed to go,” Gianaris said.
During an address to the media on Tuesday, Gov. Hochul stated the session will also address the state’s Open Meetings Law and “jump start” the state’s new cannabis control boards.