Roughly 100 demonstrators protested Tuesday outside of Kings County Housing Court, demanding Governor Andrew Cuomo stop the flood of evictions expected in the coming days.
“It is about to become the largest housing crises that New York City has ever seen so we need our politicians to act," said Esteban Giron of the Crown Heights Tenant Union.
What You Need To Know
- Protesters gathered outside Kings County Housing Court to demand an end to evictions
- They fear a massive housing crisis
- More than 14,000 families at risk of eviction, according to the Legal Aid Society
- The NYU Furman Center says 735,000 renter households in the five boroughs have at least one member who lost their job due to the pandemic
The Legal Aid Society says a state ban on marshals serving eviction notices expires Thursday, which could result in 14,000 city families, who were about to be evicted before the pandemic, being kicked out of their homes.
"It’s like I'm lost because I'm going to have to start at ground zero again," said Michael Pike, a Far Rockaway tenant who is about to be evicted.
Pike said he was scammed into renting from a Queens landlord whose building was in foreclosure. He was getting ready to move as required by a court settlement when the coronavirus crisis erupted and Governor Cuomo issued a moratorium on all evictions. That moratorium has ended, which means Pike has to leave. The problem is, he and his partner have lost their jobs.
"We’re just trying to get our stuff together as far as funds so we can get somewhere," said Pike.
The NYU Furman Center estimates 735,000 renter households in the five boroughs have at least one member who lost their job due to COVID-19. That’s about one-third of all renter households.
Under a new state law, courts cannot evict someone for not paying rent if the nonpayment is the result of a job loss because of the pandemic.
However, NY1 found several cases already filed that aim to evict tenants for that very reason. The new law does not prevent landlords from filing the eviction petitions, but it does provide tenants with a defense.
"It’s just kind of chaotic right now everybody’s struggling," said Vanessa Thill, a tenant from Brooklyn.
Protesters said they worry tens of thousands of eviction petitions will be filed as courts continue to resume operations.
“Tenants all over the city are suffering it’s unfair the burden is falling on them," said Thill.
They want a moratorium on all evictions for at least a year and to cancel every tenant’s rent statewide.