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Landlords in New York suffering from lack of rent payments amid pandemic

Posted at 2:13 PM, Feb 03, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. — 78-year-old Donna Szucs says she has lost thousands in unpaid rent from the tenant of a home she owns in Wyoming County.

"It's very frustrating because I have to provide him with water, heat, and everything else even though he pays me nothing," Szucs said.

Szucs has no legal recourse. The New York State moratorium on rent, aimed at helping those who lost jobs due to the pandemic, allows for people to miss rent payments and not face eviction. For Szucs, that's meant almost 12 months of lost wages.

Attorney Philip Meyer of The Meyer Law Firm says it's an issue many landlords are facing right now.

"It's really been the same story since March, there is very little that you can do," Meyer said.

Meyer, who has been handling eviction-related cases, says the state's mandate prevents eviction due to unpaid rent. Meyer believes many renters do not realize they will have to pay back every month of rent they may be getting a pass on right now.

"What they're going to find is they have a ton of back rent for many months," Meyer said.

That's expected to create a difficult time whenever the mandate expires, especially for the most common form of a landlord.

"The overwhelming amount of landlords here are mom and pops who have one building," Meyer said.

Landlords like Donna Szucs, who is just hoping the moratorium ends in May and is not extended once again.

"I hope it is lifted in May but I have wished for that so many times and each time they've moved it," Szucs said.

This story was first published by Jeff Slawson at WKBW in Buffalo, New York.