New York City landlord Jeff Touti told FOX Business’ “Varney & Co.” on Tuesday that he has no rights as a landlord and maintains he’ll be bankrupt with the continued extensions of the eviction moratorium. “We are completely helpless,” Touti, who calls himself a “small” landlord, told host Stuart Varney.
He argued that the extended Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction ban will prolong the problems he and other landlords have been facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He claimed that tenants have been “taking advantage” of landlords in the city.
Touti told Varney that he knows there are some tenants who can currently pay rent given they “are actually making more money now between the stimulus checks that they’re getting and unemployment.” He then stressed that those tenants are still not paying rent because they know they can get away with it.
“The courts are closed so you can’t take them to court,” Touti said.
The temporary ban halts evictions until Oct. 3, replacing a previous moratorium that was set to expire July 31.
Touti explained why he believes smaller-scale landlords, like himself, won’t be able to withstand another eviction moratorium.
“We don’t own 100 buildings and we don’t have commercial spaces that would cushion the blow from the residential [loss],” he said.
According to a new survey from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), 100% of apartment owners and managers surveyed worked with residents faced with financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another survey from the National Rental Home Council of 1,000 small landlords, owning between one and three single-family homes, showed about 23% of such owners planned to sell at least one property due to hardships caused by the eviction ban, Reuters reported.
Touti said he received some financial assistance from the government through a Small Business Association loan, stressing that the money will have to be paid back and roughly 7-10% of “what our losses was.”
He then pointed to the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) allocated by Congress for both renters and landlords, which totals nearly $47 billion. However, lawmakers and rental advocates say the money has been distributed too slowly by states and municipalities. Just $3 billion in ERA funding has been distributed so far, according to U.S. Treasury data.
Touti said he tried to fill out the ERA documents, but “never got anywhere with it” given tenants also have to fill out the forms. “Some landlords were able to do it, but haven’t received a dollar,” he continued.
“The worst thing about it is, you have to commit to keeping this tenant another year or two so all you’re doing is you’re prolonging the problem.”
Touti explained that if landlords are “lucky enough” to receive the financial assistance from the government it “would be great,” but warned that the problem will resurface in about a year “because the tenant is not going to pay.”
Last month, National Apartment Association filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to recover damages on behalf of rental housing providers that have “suffered severe economic losses under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s overreaching federal eviction moratorium,” according to a news release.
FOX Business’ Stephen Goin contributed to this report.