Mayor de Blasio Shows Great Sympathy for Tenants who Have Lived Rent-Free for 18 Months
By Yehudit Garmaise
After 18 months of American landlords having been barred from evicting tenants who could not or would not pay their rent, on the night on which the Supreme Court said that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not have the legal authority to continue the ban, Mayor Bill de Blasio severely criticized the Supreme Court majority who made the ruling.
On Sept. 3, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who called the Supreme Court’s ruling to end the year-and-a-half eviction freeze “cruel,” along with the NY legislature, extended the eviction moratorium last week to Jan. 15.
Days before Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York legislature voted to extend the eviction ban, the mayor called the conservative majority that voted to prevent the further extension a nationwide eviction moratorium, “a group of right-wing extremists” who “just decided to throw families out of their homes during a global pandemic.”
The mayor added that the US Supreme Court decision to prevent tenants from continuing to live rent-free in buildings in which landlords have been mandated to continue to provide fumigation and other maintenance services is not only “a vile, unjust decision,” but “an attack on working people across our country and city.”
But many wonder, however, why so many tenants who are not paying rent are not working, as the currently unemployment rate stands a very low 5.4% after recovering impressively from April 2020, when the 14.8% rate to which the country's unemployment had soared was the highest rate that has been observed since employment began collecting employment data in 1948.
In addition, the US economy added 943,000 jobs in July, the Congressional Research Service reported.
“I am wondering whether you are worried about the not only the livings and well-being of property owners, who have not received rent from some tenants now in a year and a half, but what motivation landlords have to continue making repairs and safety upkeep in buildings for which they are receiving no rent?” BoroPark24 asked.
“I am very worried,” responded the mayor, but he immediately shifted his focus back to the struggles of the tenants.
“I think the power and the common sense of the eviction moratorium is that we have a huge number of people who are not back on their feet, who do not have work,” the mayor said, although unemployment claims have recently dropped by 35,000 and it has been reported that the US economy has recovered so substantially from the crisis caused by the pandemic last year, that now more jobs are available than people who are applying.
“Yes, there are some jobs out there, that is true,” the mayor briefly acknowledged, “but there are a huge number of people who can’t get those jobs, who have lost jobs that paid them a lot more than the jobs that might be available now.
“There are a lot of people who are still suffering the effects of COVID. There are so many reasons why the danger of putting people out on the street en masse: morally and every way."
“But, the mayor said, "I am very worried for building owners too.
“I know the vast majority of building owners are trying to do the right thing. They are trying to keep up their buildings properly. They often have thin margins. That is why the rent relief has to be achieved by the state of New York.
“That is a huge amount of money that could then reach tenants, and then building owners as well.
“There, thankfully is a lot of support out there, but we have to get it to the building owners.
“And I understand that the building owners have a lot of tough choices now,” perhaps referring to many landlords’ inability to pay their mortgages, make repairs, provide tenant services, and make their own incomes.
Photo by: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.