New York State’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on January 15th, 2022. Unless state leadership takes action, many New Yorkers will be at risk of eviction after this weekend. I am absolutely devastated at the thought of this, and I promise to continue fighting in the Legislature to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to safe and affordable housing without the risk of being displaced. In the midst of this, I want to offer resources to those fearing the expiration of the moratorium.
Due to a court order, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) reopened last night, January 11th, at 10 PM. ERAP was created to provide significant economic relief to help low and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability by providing rental arrears, temporary rental assistance and utility arrears assistance. While we are fighting for additional rental assistance from the State and Federal Government in the coming weeks, applying for ERAP will provide applicants with protection against eviction until a final decision on their application is made.
With the uncertainty of the future of the eviction moratorium, I strongly encourage anyone eligible for ERAP to apply to remain protected from eviction. At this moment, the best way to protect yourself from eviction is to apply for ERAP. Apply here.
I also want to make sure that everyone is aware of their rights as a tenant. The following are important rights every tenant should be aware of:
- Your landlord cannot directly evict you – Even if you owe rent and your landlord tells you to move, they cannot legally evict you without taking you to court first. Only a judge can legally evict you and a Marshall with a court order can move your belongings.
- Your landlord cannot change your locks without your permission – Unless your landlord has a warrant for eviction, changing the locks on your apartment without giving you a key is illegal.
- Harassment by landlords is illegal - Any form of harassment by landlords, especially if the goal is to get you to move out, is illegal. This includes and is not limited to physical violence, sexual harassment, property damage, turning off the heat or hot water, and threats of eviction.
CASA Bronx, a tenants rights organization in the Bronx, has also created useful tenants’ rights fliers with more information that are available here in both English and Spanish. The NYC Housing Preservation and Development website also provides resources for tenants. I strongly encourage you to take a look, as knowing your rights can also serve to protect you against eviction.
My office and I are here to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. Please email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us 718-822-2049, and a member of my team will assist you.
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi