WXXI AM News

Rent laws

We talk to landlords about the struggles they are experiencing during the pandemic. Large corporations that own properties are doing quite well, but many properties are owned by local individuals who are struggling to pay their mortgages. They're concerned that landlords are being stereotyped.

We discuss it with our guests, who are landlords:

  • Pastor Fritz Longabaugh
  • Pat Gallagher
  • Karl Weekes

There are a number of factors that could lead to a possible eviction crisis. The pandemic has put many people out of work, and now additional federal support for unemployment has run out. Advocates say something has to be done very soon or the crisis will hit Western New York.

Our guests discuss it:

NEW YORK (AP)  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo acted constitutionally by temporarily banning evictions because of the coronavirus, a judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon said in a written decision that the eviction moratorium issued in a series of order beginning in March does not violate the First Amendment rights of three Westchester County landlords who sued the state.

"At bottom, provisions ensure that landlords will be made whole while their tenants are facing extraordinary financial hardships," McMahon said.

Jacob Walsh/CITY Newspaper

By the time Mary Brown moved out of her apartment at 447 Thurston Road last year, she and the other residents had — for too long — dealt with black mold, infestations, uncollected garbage, sewage backups, unsecured doors, squirrels eating through the walls, and "big" rats.

"We were living in some very poor situations," said Brown, who is now living in a different apartment complex.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers made upstate communities eligible to opt in to tenant protections that have been in place downstate — mostly New York City and its suburbs — since 1974.

CREDIT @NYGOVCUOMO

Landlords and tenants are dealing with the ripple effects of New York state’s updated rent laws. 

Housing attorney Nicholas Miraglia, from Burgess & Miraglia, specializes in evictions. He said that he handled more than 3,000 evictions in Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse last year and noted three key changes for renters.

In what supporters called a "watershed moment," the New York Legislature on Friday approved and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed what Democratic lawmakers and tenant groups say are the strongest tenant protections in a generation.

Tenants cheered, some chanting "thank you" and others crying, as Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins arrived at a victory rally organized by tenants' groups just before the vote took place.

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he will sign the rent law reforms agreed to by the Democratic-led state Legislature.

Cuomo was not involved in the talks between the Democrats in the Senate and Assembly, and in recent days, he had cast doubt that agreements could be reached.

But the governor now said he’ll approve the bills, after they are voted on Friday, one day before the rent laws expire.

“I believe this is the best tenant protections they will pass,” Cuomo said, “and I will sign it.”