New York Landlord Faces His Own Eviction As Tenants Refuse To Pay Rent
In an ironic twist of fate, a New York landlord is facing eviction from his own house, after tenants in a building he owns refused to pay rent for more than four years.
David Howson, 88, has reportedly lost $39,000 in income, the bulk of which is owed by a single tenant who apparently has paid no rent since December 2016.
Howson, who suffers from Alzheimers, has reportedly failed in multiple attempts in court to force the tenant to pay the outstanding fees, leaving him unable to pay his own rent and maintenance bills. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is currently a ban on evictions in New York City until May 1.
His daughter, Jessica Howson, told the New York Post:
We have nothing. We are completely destitute,
If Citibank is not giving me a break with my mortgage, why should anyone else live rent free?
The tenant reportedly inherited the rights to the apartment after her husband was put in a nursing home. Out of the $926 monthly rent, the landlord claims that he is only getting $215, from the city’s social services.
Manhattan Legal Services said in a statement the are ‘obtaining a rent subsidy from the City, which will pay the landlord our client’s full back rent and provide regular monthly rent payments on her behalf moving forward’.
The New York Post, which first reported Howson’s story, has vocally opposed New York’s eviction ban, calling it ‘enormously irresponsible’. Governor Andrew Cuomo first introduced the moratorium at the start of the pandemic in March last year, saying it was necessary to protect the thousands of New Yorkers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic from being made homeless. According to The New York Times, without the legislation approximately 1.2 million people would be at risk of eviction in the state.
Brian Kavanagh, a New York state senator, told the Times:
A policy that tells people they can’t go to work and therefore they can’t pay their rent, and then allows them to get evicted, and then pays for their shelter is just economically nonsensical, even if you don’t have a heart.
The federal government has so far provided $1.3 billion in rent relief to the state of New York. However, many are concerned that the end of restrictions in May will see a new wave of evictions. Some tenants have participated in rent strikes, in the hope that it will force landlords to understand the potential impact of evictions on renters.
One rent striker told the Times: ‘What tenants went through, now the landlords are going to have to go through. They’re going to have to stand on line for help, or go into their savings. They don’t think about our health or how we want to live.’
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