Tag Archives: renters

Tenants are Facing Eviction Across America

New Orleans       Recession is here.  Layoffs are in the millions.  The service industry is hammered.  Small businesses are underwater, while the Senate Republicans are only listening to big corporations.  Trump is trying to elbow Dr. Fauci out of the way for getting too much attention as a truthteller at his fabricated daily press conferences spinning out whatever comes to mind in his happy valley.  I have to admit, he tricked me for a minute, as well.  When he said he was halting evictions nationally, I thought he was talking about tenants.  It turns out he had conflated the terms “evictions” and “foreclosures.”  He was ordering a temporary halt to foreclosures for homeowners.  HUD has frozen evictions for public housing tenants, but otherwise the federal government is silent on the fate of forty million tenants across the country.

Other countries where ACORN works have acted on our demands for tenants.  The United Kingdom has frozen evictions.  Canada has taken action.  France has halted evictions.  In the United States, once again, leadership has defaulted to states and cities, but the pattern is patchy and in many cases the relief is extremely short term and undefined.

At the state level, California has halted evictions until May 31st.  Delaware has “paused” until May 1st, while Illinois has paused until April 8th.  Indiana has stopped evictions “until the crisis is over.” Louisiana has stepped up and stopped all evictions indefinitely.  Maryland has acted “only for tenants related to the virus.”  Massachusetts has blocked evictions.  Michigan has done so until April 17th.  New Hampshire has stopped them, and New Jersey has haled for sixty days.  New York has stood tall and said none for three months.  North Carolina has said thirty days.  Pennsylvania has stopped them only for a minute until April 3rd.  Rhode Island is in for thirty days, as is Texas and Washington.  Virginia has blocked until April 8th.  Maybe I’m missing something, but my rough count is some action from almost nothing to three months has been taken by seventeen states, and, yes, the District of Columbia has suspended, and absolutely nothing has been done in thirty-three states.  Some cities have done much better, but it’s not a  huge parade there either.

Don’t get me wrong according to various websites, some of them are talking about it and even thinking about it, but people are hurting and worrying, and they are fiddling.  Most of this data, I found at a website connected to something called fool.com, which gives a sense to all of us of who is really keeping track.

This jigsaw puzzle is actually why we have a federal government and need a president or someone around there to take action and remember that tenants count too, not just the big boys with the three-piece suits.  That is something we need to put on our list for later.

In the meantime, we need to stop evictions now!

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Please enjoy Gordon_Lightfoot_Solo_Oh_So_Sweet_

Thanks to WAMF.

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New Housing Law in New York Having Huge Impact on Tenant Evictions

New Orleans       The Wall Street Journal and its reporters must get a special thrill when they can score an exclusive on the New York Times on New York’s own turf.  I bet they didn’t even care when they went out to celebrate last week at their local watering hole that their billionaire owner, Rupert Murdoch, and all the landlords who read their paper were probably seething as they went line by line reading about the huge benefits the new housing law in New York State was having for tenants.  Their tenants are not big readers of the Journal, but even though they may not have seen the article, they still celebrated.  The difference was that they stayed home, rather than going out, because the big news was that they were not being evicted.

One of the most profound results of the new law has been the almost 50% drop in evictions being filed in New York City’s housing court.   The new law instructed landlords to wait fourteen days rather than three days before evicting for nonpayment or late payment.  According to the Journal’s review of the statistics for the New York City boroughs, “New eviction cases against city tenants for nonpayment of rent are down by more than 35,000 since the law was signed on June 14, compared with the same period in 2018, a drop of 46%….”  The new law also gave tenants more time to respond, all of which has seems to have slowed down the eviction happy landlords who assumed they could threaten someone with housing court and be done with it, and then raise the rents to escape rent control restricts.  Holdover cases on minor lease infraction claims are also reportedly down by 11% as landlords try to figure out how to get the upper hand again under this new 74-page law that closed many of the loopholes they had enjoyed in the past.

Some of the impact is more New York City than universal.  There have been huge increases in legal protection for tenants in the housing court under Mayor DeBlasio.  Admittedly these changes were enacted before the new law, but it has to be a factor in slowing them down now while they figure the angles.  Additionally, there is a “look back” provision on previous repairs and rent increases that is peculiar to NYC rent control that wouldn’t exist in other cities, preventing us from comparing every orange city to the Big Apple.

Nonetheless, the point is impossible to miss.  Making the law fairer and giving tenants real rights and protections does in fact slow evictions and protect affordable housing.  Preventing landlords from playing gotcha on the least little things and perp walking them into courts keeps tenants in their units and lets them work things out with their landlords.

It’s pretty clear already that cities and states in the US and abroad as well need to study the new law and see what they can put in place locally.  For sure tenants and our organizations are now going over it with a fine-toothed comb.

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