For most of the pandemic, New York State has maintained a strict eviction moratorium, a safeguard that many elected officials and housing advocates say has prevented a cascading crisis in a state with an enormous number of struggling renters.
Even as nearly every other state or federal moratorium ended, New York’s protections were extended time and again. Only in New Mexico has a state-wide moratorium been in place for as long.
But New York is now approaching a perilous milestone. On Satur- day, state officials are set to let the moratorium expire, making way for a long-feared rush of evictions cases that many worry will seed widespread social upheaval and strain New York’s recovery from the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, about one-quarter of the state’s households occupied by renters spent more than half their income on rent and some utilities. In New York City, where many renters live, the problem is even more acute, with one-third of households in that category.
The pandemic only made things worse. The state has received more than 291,000 applications for a pandemic rent relief program since last summer, reflecting the vast number of people behind on rent. That program has nearly run out of money.
Photographed for The New York Times, with words by Mihir Zaveri.
New York’s Ban on Evictions Is Expiring. What Happens Now?
The moratorium’s end presents Gov. Kathy Hochul with a potential challenge as she prepares to run for a full term.