NEW YORK — After briefly expiring over the weekend, the statewide eviction moratorium put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was extended Tuesday, after gaining the signature of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“As we approach the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, it is critical that we continue to protect both New York’s tenants and business owners who have suffered tremendous hardship throughout this entire pandemic,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Extending this legislation will help to ensure that vulnerable New Yorkers and business owners who are facing eviction through no fault of their own are able to keep their homes and businesses as we continue on the road to recovery and begin to build back our economy better than it was before.”
The eviction ban originally announced on March 20, 2020, is now set to expire in August of this year.
In Brooklyn, the extension means being able to say at home for one woman.
Dozens of friends and neighbors rallied behind Sherease Torain Tuesday evening, on the steps of her family’s home of the last 70 years in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
The family initially organized the rally under the presumption they faced eviction, following the brief lapse in the statewide moratorium on tenant evictions.
“My grandmother, who’s 97, she’s lived here since 1951, when her and my grandfather purchased the property,” Torain said.
That’s right — her family once owned this property.
So how did they become tenants, now facing eviction?
It’s a totally separate, and important story involving alleged deed theft that Torain explained to us in great detail — a story we hope to soon explore in greater depth.
Torain said their ordeal began years ago when predatory attorneys conned her 97-year-old grandmother into signing papers that essentially transferred her deed – and ownership of the home – to another party.
It’s since been a tooth and nail fight to stay in the home. It was actually made easier by the coronavirus pandemic-inspired moratorium on evictions.
Hal Drellich is a long time neighbor and a board member of local community association.
“It’s just tragic, ya know? We don’t want to see her evicted,” he said. “I don’t know why it’s called an eviction. I imagine whoever perpetrated this deed theft believe they own the house — which is a fraud, done fraudulently.”
Albany’s decision to extend the moratorium allows the Torain family to live another day in the building the family has called home since 1951 — and live another day in court.
“People are actually coming out of their homes, all races, all ages, all economic backgrounds,” Torain said. “And they’re coming out here to support my family. I’m just overwhelmed.