BRI News

The Building & Realty Institute Hails Governor Cuomo Signing the Emergency Rent Relief Act into Law

Today, the Building & Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region, the trade association containing multifamily apartment owners, co-op and condo boards, and property managing agents, hailed Governor Andrew Cuomo signing A. 10522 (Cymbrowitz) / S. 8419 (Kavanagh), which establishes the Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020.

 “Struggling landlords and tenants alike are grateful for the leadership of Senator Kavanaugh, Assemblymember Cymbrowitz, Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Governor Cuomo for providing targeted relief to those who are struggling the most during this public health and economic emergency,” said Tim Foley, Executive Director of the BRI.

 “The bill is a reasonable and fair-minded effort to balance the interests of those tenants who have been detrimentally affected by the COVID-19 emergency and surge in unemployment, as well as those landlords, co-ops, and small business owners who are similarly negatively affected and want to continue to provide safe and healthy housing to their tenants,” Foley continued.

 The law, which was signed by the Governor last night, directs the commissioner of New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) to establish a short-term rental assistance program. Aid will be focused on residents with the greatest need, who were “rent burdened” with more than 30% of their income going to rent both before and after the start of the pandemic, and with a clear loss of income or employment due to COVID-19. HCR is required by the law to prioritize households according to a variety of factors, including income, rent burden, percentage of income loss, and risk of potential homelessness. 

 HCR would then provide an assistance voucher for rental payments due between the beginning of April and the end of July.

 “Our property owners and landlords reported that less than 70% of tenants paid their full rent in April,” concluded Foley. “Our members have done everything they could to be accommodating and flexible for so many terrific, long-term tenants who are facing unbelievable challenges in an unprecedented time, while investing more than ever before in cleaning, disinfection, and security to keep the apartments that are now simultaneously the offices, schools, childcare, and refuges of safety for our residents functioning. Too many in Albany had hoped to pile on the economic burdens for some cheap political points. 

Thankfully, Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Cymbrowitz had a better way to provide targeted relief that benefits tenants, landlords, and our state economy all at once. We look forward to doing everything we can to make this program a success.”

The The Building and Realty Institute (BRI) of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region (BRI), based in Armonk, has more than 1,800 members in 14 counties of New York State, including home builders, commercial builders, renovators, property managing agents, co-op and condo boards, and owners of multifamily apartment buildings in many communities, as well as suppliers and service providers with a special focus on real estate. The BRI’s mission is to improve the relationships among builders and real estate business owners to the mutual advantage of the industry. For additional information, please visit https://www.buildersinstitute.org. 

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