Legislature Approves Skoufis-Paulin Bill that Provides Rent Relief to Small Landlords

Legislature Approves Skoufis-Paulin Bill that Provides Rent Relief to Small Landlords
Senator James Skoufis

ALBANY—A bill (A07280, S06481) sponsored by State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) and Senator James Skoufis (D-Newburgh, Garnerville) recently passed the Assembly and Senate that if signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will expand access to rental assistance funds for small landlords.

The bill will allow property owners whose tenants cannot or will not submit a rental relief application—as required by existing law—to apply for the relief themselves and receive payment for their tenants’ owed rent. This assistance may mean the difference between temporary hardship and lasting financial ruin for many struggling landlords, Assemblywoman Paulin and Sen. Skoufis said in a joint announcement released on May 5.

“We must help landlords who need to pay mortgages, insurance, property tax, and building upkeep,” said Assemblywoman Paulin. “Without rent coming in many are struggling to get by, and I am happy to have passed legislation that will assist our many landlords who have gone above and beyond to help tenants stay afloat. This legislation will provide landlords the ability to recover, while at the same time preserving a tenant’s ability to seek and receive assistance—both of which are critical to families, businesses and our state’s economic recovery.”

“I am gratified to see state government working the way it should for the benefit of all New Yorkers,” said Sen. Skoufis. “COVID-19 created immense challenges for renters and landlords alike. For landlords who made a good faith effort to help a tenant with a rental assistance application to no avail—including instances where a tenant may have already vacated a property but still owes accrued rent—this new legislation is a game-changer and will prove a critical part of our statewide recovery.”

Under the provisions of this legislation, rental assistance will be newly available:

• For tenant households who would qualify for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CERAP) but for the fact that their income exceeds 80% of the area median income;

• For landlords with rental arrears accrued by a tenant who would have qualified for assistance under CERAP or under subdivision of this section if the tenant had applied for assistance while in occupancy, if the landlord has used best efforts to contact and assist the tenant in applying, without success, including instances in which the tenant has vacated while owing rent; and

• To supplement funding for CERAP.

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