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NEW YORK (PIX11) – New York City could be heading toward an eviction crisis after the state’s eviction moratorium was allowed to expire on Saturday, as hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers remain behind on their rent.

Now, New York’s rent relief program may not have enough funding to provide assistance for everyone who has applied. PIX11 News spoke with Tashanna Golden, the director of housing from Staten Island Legal Services, about what landlords and tenants should know. Watch the full interview HERE.

Q: What are some things that renters can do to protect themselves from an unlawful eviction?

Tashanna: Renters should be on the look out for any notices from their landlords. If they receive anything that resembles court documents they should contact 311 or a legal services provider, such as LSNYC (our hotline number is 917-661-4500) to find out what the next steps are. In the event they find themselves locked out, they should immediately go to the Housing Court and ask to be re-let.

Q: What is ERAP? Is there enough money for everyone who fell behind on rent?

Tashanna: ERAP is the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, a federally funded program that provides payment for rental arrears for tenants that have fallen behind in their rent due to COVID-related hardship.  Both the Landlord and Tenant have to participate in the application process. 

Q: For renters that have applied for rental assistance via the emergency rental assistance program (ERAP), are they protected from potential eviction from landlords? 

Tashanna: For tenants who are in court for non-payment of rent, an ERAP payment may bring them current, and therefore ends the case.  However if there are additional arrears that remain outstanding, they may still face eviction if those arrears are not paid.  For tenants who are in court for holdovers, the acceptance of an ERAP payment from the landlord would result in them being unable to get evicted for one year, unless there’s a cause. For tenants who are not in court and have never been brought to court, and ERAP payment may prevent a court case.  A tenant CANNOT be evicted without a judgment rendered from court.

Q: What assistance is there for landlords that have fallen behind on mortgage payments due to tenants being unable to pay for their rent?

Tashanna: ERAP payments benefit the landlord, so if a tenant asks them to participate, they should seriously consider it as the payment goes directly to them.  

Q: Is it possible to be disqualified from ERAP? And if so, what would be the reason behind someone being unable to receive rent relief? 

Tashanna: Not all ERAP applications are approved. The denials that I have seen have been because the applicant cannot show financial hardship, typically because their income is too high.