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Gov. Cuomo Signs COVID Relief Bill For Renters And Property Owners

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- It may be the strongest bill in the country to protect New Yorkers from evicted.

A moratorium on evictions was set to expire Dec. 31, but on Monday Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that extends it for another two months.

"I'm looking for work and my work was literally taken away from me," said Williamsbridge resident Sally Reyes.

As CBS2's Lisa Rozner reports, her Bronx apartment was on the verge of being taken away too. Out of work as a bartender, Reyes, a single mom, hasn't been able to pay rent since August.

She's been working with the nonprofit BronxWorks to apply for funds, and now she has more time. Earlier on Monday, Gov. Cuomo said he would sign legislation that blocks eviction proceedings from going forward for at least 60 days.

MORE: New Yorkers Can Now Apply For Pandemic-Related Rent Relief Under Revamped Program

"The courts have 60 days to put in place a new procedure which allows tenants to sign a declaration explaining that they either suffered a COVID-related hardship," said housing attorney Ellen Davidson of the Legal Aid Society.

But landlords say the legislation is too vague and makes it easy for people who are financially stable to take advantage and not pay rent.

"There's no verification process and there's no limit on your income. So you could be making several hundred thousand dollars a year, and maybe your income dropped 50K, and you're still making $250K but you're covered by this bill, and that makes no sense whatsoever," said Frank Ricci, executive vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association.

SoHo landlord Joanna Wong says one tenant has not lived in their unit during the pandemic and also has not paid rent for nine months and won't respond to emails.

"We don't want to evict anyone. Housing court is our last resort and basically the only time we, I, would go that route is if I feel like I have no other option," she said.

The hope is the federal COVID relief bill will help those in need with rent payments.

Those who sign the hardship form are protected from eviction until May 1, 2021.


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