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Some New Yorkers Worried After U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Park Of State Eviction Moratorium

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New Yorkers who can't pay their rent are worried after a Supreme Court ruling blocked part of the state's eviction moratorium.

The high court ruling found New York could no longer enforce a provision of the eviction moratorium that allowed tenants to avoid being kicked out of their homes by simply submitting a form claiming they were experiencing a financial hardship. They now need to prove it.

"Some tenants were able to use as it a sword rather than as a shield and take advantage of landlords," said Olga Somera, general counsel for the Rent Stabilization Association.

The association represents 250,000 owners in the city, and it was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.

"The moratorium was never a solution to this crisis. The real solution to this crisis was the money that was provided by the federal government," Somera told CBS2's Kevin Rincon. "The fact that we're now in mid-August and that money has not yet been distributed is really quite shameful."

READ MORE: U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Part Of New York's Eviction Moratorium

Groups representing landlords and tenants say the state should be doing more to allocate the $2.3 billion in rent relief money given to the state by the federal government.

The Legal Aid Society is among them. In a statement, it also calls on the state legislature to amend the law to allow a hearing on the tenant declaration of hardship and avoid any possible evictions.

At City Hall, the mayor's office says judges are still instructed not to evict any tenants who can prove a financial hardship because of the pandemic, and on top of that, there is still the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium.

That new Biden administration moratorium has also come under legal fire, but on Friday, a federal judge sided against landlords and with tenants who wanted that new order to be put on hold.

Altagracia Pierre-Outerbridge represents both sides. She says one way or another, these protections won't last forever.

"When the end comes, they are not sure how they'll pay the money," she said.

While New Yorkers wait to get money through the emergency rental assistance program, just applying offers them another some immunity.

"The myth that there's going to be a tsunami of evictions, although scary, is just not realistic practically speaking," Somera said.

She says before the pandemic, evictions made up less than 10% of housing court cases. She says what they want is an opportunity for both sides to be heard.

CBS2's Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.

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