March 2020 Updates

What to expect with NYS laws and planning  for post-Covid-19 fall out

Mar 17, 2020

It is almost the end of the first quarter 2020. In the last three months, we have seen many changes to the way we do business, and more are coming. In January, we went to Albany asking for changes to Housing Act 2019. Since then, we have met and emailed to discuss the "new" laws. We wrote letters to all Finger Lakes legislators, rewritten leases, and tried to mitigate damages from longer evictions and stricter screening criteria, among a myriad of other issues. Now we are embracing social isolation, while bracing for the aftermath of Covid-19. Hold fast...

This is not a prediction letter, nor a doomsday message. It is simply what we, as an association of landlords, are doing to understand, plan, and direct our uncertain futures. Please contact the FLLA Admin with questions.

  1. NOW: Temporary Court suspension of evictions due to C-19. Please read attached letter from the association regarding court closings and suggestions for landlord-tenant reaction to C-19 crisis. Note: There are rumors and petitions (on Facebook) asking the state to suspend rent, mortgage and utility payments for 2 months. This was created by a candidate for Congress in another state whose platform is rent control. It is unlikely NYS lawmakers nor the governor will consider this an option since it would have devastating effects on the already struggling financial markets. In the meantime, continue being safe and praying for the medical community whose job it is to understand viruses and protect/inform us.
  2. PAST: NYS Legislature has “no appetite” for “Good Cause Eviction” Bill  Longtime members, Leah and Jerry Bamberger, have been working tirelessly to stay in front of state legislators, in the Finger Lakes region as well as bill sponsors in both Assembly and Senate. They met with Pamela Hunter (D-Syracuse, Assembly sponsor of the bill) who said there was “no appetite to pass this in the Assembly this session.” They also met with staff of Senator Rachel May (D-Syracuse) who was instrumental in supporting the bill in Senate, as well as many others. Leah has taken to Twitter to "tweet" Julia Salazar (D-NYC) who Senate sponsor. Both Assembly and Senate versions of the same bill have not moved out of Housing or Judiciary committees, respectively.
  3. FUTURE: What if my tenants stop  paying and I default on my loans, utilities or other bills?
    This is a worrisome thought for many landlords who depend on a specific percentage of rental payments in order to pay their bills. Especially when it comes to essential utilities that are included in the rent, or are of vital importance to the residents, like water, heat and electricity.  The landlord is required to pay for and/or provide these services even if rent is not paid. In response to this possibility, FLLA is drafting a letter that you can use to request no late fees, a forbearance, or an allowance for partial payments.  If you find yourself in this predicament, we want to help. Contact Admin for more information.  
  4. Social Isolation and Continued Conversation Just because we cannot meet in person, does not mean we cannot collaborate or continue doing business and sharing best practices. If the isolation becomes downtime for you or your staff, please consider these business building activities:
    1. Booking a phone appointment with the Admin of FLLA to update all your online data.
    2. Consider investigating social media and voicing your concern. Even those who don't like social media on their phones can access Twitter and Facebook via laptops and tablets. Use your typing skills, or keep it simple, to let legislators, policy makers, and industry groups know exactly what your position is.
    3. Follow bills on NYS website,  and email your Senators and Assemblymembers 
    4. Email the rest of us with best practices, questions, good news and updates.
    5. Look Onward and Upward...

Letter to Landlords - FLLA C-19 Response (PDF; 194KB)

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