NY landlord: Eviction moratorium has me in debt with ‘nowhere to turn’
New York landlord Suzanne Antolini tells ‘Varney & Co.’ she’s exhausted all avenues in trying to remove an employed tenant who hasn’t paid rent since March 2020.
A landlord in upstate New York is living out of a car with her daughter after being unable to collect rent from tenants in three properties she owns due to eviction moratoriums.
"I don't understand how they can give my private property to somebody to live for free. I bought that property. I fixed it up with my blood, sweat and tears," Brandie LaCasse, a single mother and Air Force veteran, told CBS News.
Now, LaCasse is living out of a car with her daughter, as well as staying with friends when she is able.
BIDEN ADMIN'S NEW EVICTION FREEZE PROTECTS SOME TENANTS, BUT LANDLORDS FACE 'VERY DIFFICULT TIME,' SAYS EXPERT
LaCasse said she missed out on receiving $23,000 in rent over nearly a year because of federal and state eviction moratoriums that were put in place due to the pandemic. She explained to the outlet that she told the tenants they had to move out so she could move in, but they instead stopped paying rent, yet remained in the homes.
"I've cried many nights, like thinking, 'Where's my money?'" she said.
One of LaCasse’s tenants, Carla McArthur, said she’s unable to pay rent due to childcare costs and her family suffering from the virus during the pandemic.
"I feel bad that I have not been able to pay her," McArthur said. "We've gone from two incomes. I had COVID-19 twice. My kids all have had it once. My husband's had it once. We've been affected by the virus."
McArthur, however, was approved for rent relief in New York, while LaCasse has still not received any funds.
NEARLY 90% OF RENTAL ASSISTANCE FUNDS NOT YET DISTRIBUTED
The story comes after Treasury Department data this week showed about 89% of federal rental assistance funds have not been distributed.
July saw a small increase in distribution compared to previous months, but the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has disbursed only about $5.1 billion total of the $46.5 billion rental aid program – meaning about 11% of the cash allocated by Congress to the program has been distributed.
The slow drip of funds also comes after Fox News’s Peter Doocy questioned White House press secretary Jen Psaki earlier this month about why there wasn’t "more being done to help the landlords who are struggling to pay their bills because they're not being paid."
"Well actually the landlords can benefit from exactly the same emergency rental assistance that renters can benefit from," Psaki responded.
LANDLORDS LOOK FOR AN EXIT AMID FEDERAL EVICTION MORATORIUM
"Right now, as we understand it, many states are not distributing that money," Doocy continued. "The Washington Post says that this measure could drive thousands of minor landlords to bankruptcy."
"Well that's exactly why," Psaki added. "And I'm happy to have you as a partner in this effort, we are trying to advocate for states, localities to get this money out. There's no reason it's not going out to landlords, to renters, no reason that people who are eligible are not benefiting, and we've seen a number of states – red states and blue states – do this very effectively."
The Biden administration announced a new targeted moratorium on evictions earlier this month after Congress couldn’t muster the votes to extend a previous moratorium.
The move sparked concerns and questions about its legality and President Biden even said that he spoke with constitutional experts about the new moratorium and conceded that "the bulk of" them said "it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster."
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Now, landlords and real estate trade groups are challenging the latest moratorium imposed by the CDC, and the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court on Monday to leave the pandemic-related federal ban on residential evictions in place.
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