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New York City Renters Call For Eviction Moratorium Extension As Local Officials Ask Biden Administration For More Funding

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Tens of thousands of New Yorkers are worried they'll be out on the street if the state's eviction moratorium is allowed to expire Saturday.

Many rallied in an effort to extend the moratorium Friday in Manhattan, but organizations representing landlords said tenants have had plenty of time, CBS2's John Dias reported.

Leaders from those organizations said the moratorium has been "crushing" landlords. Extending it even by one day, they said, will lead to more hardship.

"I'm behind on my rent again, so it's been really too crazy for me to keep things as steady," said Karina Popowitch, a Bronx tenant.

The pandemic has taken a financial toll on Popowitch and her family, like many, after she lost her job with the MTA.

"I've been unemployed for almost two years. I did get some jobs but they couldn't open because of COVID," Popowitch said.

Many in the same shoes as Popowitch rallied for better rental protections and are demanding Gov. Kathy Hochul extend the deadline.

New York's eviction moratorium was put in place as an emergency measure in March 2020. Tenants advocates call its impending expiration a doomsday scenario and are asking for protections through June.

"It appears we have a governor who either doesn't understand the magnitude of the housing crisis in this state or does not have the capability or courage to address it," said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who is challenging Hochul for governor.

Many in the housing industry were understanding of the consequences the pandemic brought.

"It's time for tenants who are capable of paying their rent to begin paying their rent once again," said Vito Signorile, with the Rent Stabilization Association. "We understand that there are still tenants out there who are still impacted by the pandemic, but there are measures in place to continue protecting those tenants."

Signorile said it's never been about evicting tenants. Of the landlords Signorile represents, many own mom and pop buildings and owe rent money that's due to them. Some of their tenants haven't paid rent in almost two years, he said.

"There are unfortunately some bad actors out there who have taken advantage of this moratorium," Signorile said.

In a last ditch effort to prevent a crisis, Mayor Eric Adams has turned to the Biden administration to help. Adams asked the Treasury Department to send immediate additional federal aid for New York's Emergency Rental Assistant Program, which would cover rent.

"New York state has only received $27 million out of the $1.1 billion the Treasury Department set aside for further assistance. That is insulting to our state," Adams said.

Adams' demands were echoed in a letter sent by the governors of New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois - states that represent approximately 25% of the U.S. population and 30% of the country's low-income renter households.

Leaders from the Rent Stabilization Association said Washington would hurt small property owners by not stepping in. Without rent or relief aid, they may not be able to afford taxes or mortgages.

CLICK HERE for information on legal services for New York City tenants.

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