State lawmakers have extended protection from evictions for another three months.  But that is a double-edged sword, because it puts landlords in a tough spot as well.

It is now more than a year that tenants have been legally protected from being put on the street.

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State lawmakers have approved parallel packages for tenants and landlords. The moratorium on evictions to protect renters, includes a measure to protect landlords from foreclosure.

The elephant in the room is what happens when those protections go away?

No one realistically wants tenants on the street, but landlords need rent to pay mortgages as well as for income.

The Covid-19 pandemic has cost jobs, affecting tenants’ ability to pay rent. Lawmakers  have with that issue in mind approved temporary protection against evictions.

“Really it behooves landlords to be talking to their tenants, working with their tenants, in order to get some much of this relief that is now available to people,” Teresa Watson, Housing Justice Organizer for Push Buffalo said.

Buffalo attorney Loran Bommer, representing area landlords, told NEWS 4 WIVB-TV that his clients say they have not received any financial assistance from the government.

“My clients are desperate,” Bommer said. “You are talking people that, being a landlord is their business, this is not a hobby. As a business they live on their residuals, they live on the profits. They have no money to pay their bills, they can’t pay their mortgages, they can’t buy their food.”

The laws that protect tenants from eviction require documentation they are unable to pay, but bommer says the cases are not even being heard in court.

“If somebody is employed, we should be able to get an eviction,” Bommer said. “If they have not been damaged because of covid, we should be able to have an eviction.”

The foreclosure and prevention act is set to expire on Aug. 31- as is the Protect Our Small Businesses Act.

Bommer believes this standoff between tenants and landlords could eventually affect the housing market itself.

 

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