Earlier this year legislators enacted a law, the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, to prevent renters who suffered financial losses during the pandemic from being evicted.

Everyone knew that the time would come, and now the time is here. Legal evictions are being resumed in New York. Renters are now being subjected to being thrown out in the cold.

According to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, seven elections were carried out in Albany recently. In addition, there were two evictions carried out in Colonie. Sheriff Apple said that he would carry out eviction orders if he had to. He said, “I’ve said all along, if I get a court order, I’ve got to follow through.“

Governor Andrew Cuomo extended The Tenant Safe Harbor Act through January 1, 2020. The act was intended to safeguard tenants who suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic. Orders for an eviction that were issued prior to the pandemic are null and void for protection under the tenant act.

Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks issued an order in early October that allowed evictions to resume. Some tenants are still covered under the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, but it is up to them to prove to a judge that they are suffering a hardship that can be directly related to the pandemic.

Laura Felts, Executive Director of United Tenants of Albany, says that most of the tenants appear in court without attorneys. That makes sense, if you can’t afford to pay your rent, you probably don’t have money for an attorney to go to rent court with you.

It’s sad to think about so many people who will be left homeless in the cold weather, during a pandemic. I really hope that people paid their rent if they could, and simply didn’t use the pandemic as a reason for not paying.

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