How COVID-19 eviction moratoriums helped and harmed landlords, tenants

Health officials advised people to stay home as COVID-19 spread across the U.S. More than a year later, some renters worry about the future of their safe spaces as eviction moratorium deadlines loom.

Landlords also worry about losing their properties and grapple with financial blows from months-late rent. Some fear for their lives. 

Around 200 New York landlords hollered “stop killing landlords” and “give back our property” at a rally outside the governor’s office on Aug. 20. They waved pennants that ranged from American flags to a banner for a Chinatown business association. Signs declared that in order to pay taxes, they first need rent.

Outside the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Third Avenue in Manhattan, a group of landlords organized by the American Greater New York Chinese Association protested the moratorium on evictions.

The landlords were fighting to end the local eviction moratorium they say has endangered finances and livelihoods during the coronavirus pandemic, by stopping them from removing nonpaying tenants.

That same weekend, in Brooklyn and the Bronx, tenant advocates also took to the sidewalks. But they were calling for the moratorium to continue — lest thousands of renters be put out of their homes with little warning as the delta variant spreads. Protesters laid “body bags” in front of the Bronx Housing Court to signify the lives at stake.