what to know
- New York City’s eviction rate is rising due to the pandemic ending in January 2022, as are protections for renters and rent relief programs.
- New city data shows there were only 26 evictions citywide during the last two weeks of January 2022. Fast forward to January 2023, and 350 evictions have taken place.
- In five cities, around 4,400 families and tenants have been evicted from their homes since the eviction ban was lifted.
NEW YORK – New York City’s eviction rate is on the rise as the pandemic ends in January 2022, as do relief programs and protections for tenants.
Since then, thousands of people have been evicted from their buildings. Programs like the New York Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, will stop taking applications starting Friday, which could mean even more evictions.
The month-on-month increase in evictions is quite staggering. New city data shows there were only 26 evictions citywide during the last two weeks of January 2022. Fast forward to January 2023, and 350 evictions have taken place.
On January 12 alone, sheriffs carried out more than 50 evictions in a single day.
In five cities, around 4,400 families and tenants have been evicted from their homes since the eviction ban was lifted.
Orchid Nichols is among those facing eviction as she and her daughter may be forced to leave their Flatbush, Brooklyn home.
“I’ve been looking for a place since 2021, rent is through the roof,” Nichols said.
But finding an affordable place to live is about as difficult as finding a free attorney to represent you in housing court, says Nichols.
“There was no response when the lawyers were called. They kept telling us about different organizations and no one responded. Finally, I had to represent myself in the court,” he said.
An attorney representing both tenants and landlords said there has been a significant increase in a particular type of eviction, which puts tenants in a difficult position.
“Right now, we’re seeing more and more evictions without just cause, meaning the landlord doesn’t need a reason to evict you. With just the termination of your lease, you could be in court are,” said the lawyer. High Grace. Pierre-Outerbridge, who founded Outerbridge Law PC
She said there are still plenty of protections for tenants, and they usually have 6 months’ notice before the sheriff comes knocking on the door.
“This is a city of renters, New York City is one of the largest renter cities in the world, so protections for renters still apply,” Pierre-Outerbridge said.
But the problem is not limited to New York. In the first week of January alone, the Princeton University Eviction Lab counted more than 9,300 evictions in nine states and 32 cities.
What Can Tenants Facing Eviction Do?
Familiarize yourself with tenants’ rights
While these are tough times for tenants with skyrocketing rents, the pandemic has also ushered in a new set of protections. Experts say it pays to do your research and become familiar with your rights.
In some cities, for example, landlords are now limited in how much they can raise their rent. If you’re facing eviction because of an illegal addition, it’s worth knowing: You may be able to raise this in housing court or with your landlord.
In some places, you are entitled to a certain amount of notice of eviction, such as at least 90 days in specific cases in Portland, Maine. During the school year, teachers and families with school-age children recently won new eviction protections in Oakland, California.
Meanwhile, if your landlord raised your rent above a certain amount, you may be eligible in some cities, including Seattle and Portland, Oregon, to cover some of your moving costs.
work with a lawyer
If your landlord wants to evict you, housing advocates recommend that you try to get a lawyer as soon as possible.
A study in New Orleans found that more than 65% of tenants without legal representation were evicted, compared to only 15% of those who had a lawyer accompany them to the hearing.
You can find free or low-cost legal aid in your state at Lawhelp.org.
In a growing number of cities and states, including Washington, Maryland and Connecticut, tenants facing eviction have the right to an attorney. You can find a great list of those places at civilrighttocounsel.org.
Consider Your Rental Options
Most rental assistance programs that opened during the pandemic have now closed, but some are still accepting applications.
On the National Low Income Housing Coalition website, you can find aid options and a state-by-state guide for your state.
It’s not a strategy experts recommend, but some renters are using their credit cards to cover the rent. Few owners or property managers accept plastic, so you’ll need to find a third-party processor like plastic or PayPal.
But this option should only be used in extreme situations, said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com.
“The biggest potential problem is keeping up with the balance and paying interest on your rent,” Rossman said. “It could make an already huge expenditure that much more substantial.”
Instead, he recommends that tenants ask the landlord for an extension or payment plan. Rossman said other ways to calculate rent could include borrowing from family and friends or your retirement plan.