New York State Supreme Court Judge Lynn Kotler has issued a preliminary injunction ordering the state to reopen its Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“ERAP”) portal. The ERAP portal is to reopen even though there are no new funds to back the program. However, the reopening of the ERAP portal will allow New Yorkers that are struggling financially to apply for pandemic rental assistance and to be protected against evictions.
Although New York has already distributed billions in federal funds to cover rent for those struggling financially as a result of the pandemic, the state may still be eligible for additional money. In total, New York has given out about half of the $2.4 billion in federal funds to be used as rental relief. The remainder of this money is currently being held as thousands of applications that were submitted are reviewed. New York's governor, Kathy Hochul, has called on lawmakers to approve an additional $1 billion in rental assistance. However, treasury officials have altered the state that only $27 million has been approved, thus far.
Governor Hochul previously decided to close the ERAP portal in November of 2021. Reopening the portal will allow anyone who applies and claims financial hardship due to the pandemic to be protected from eviction while their case is being reviewed. Although many tenants are pleased with the reopening of the ERAP portal, not all landlords agree. Many have slammed the decision because the decision to reopen the portal came before sufficient funds were allocated to the program.
By: Shayne Messing
Law Clerk, Moss & Tapia Law