Will a NYC rent freeze happen? Here’s everything we know as of April 13.

Will NYC rent freeze happen?

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, my income has been significantly compromised, and I have no idea when I’ll get work. I’m not alone. Millions of people who work in travel, entertainment, nightlife, restaurants and hospitality have been jobless.

In NYC, I know dozens of people who did not know how to pay April rent. While governor Andrew Cuomo has established a 90-day eviction moratorium, it’s not enough. What will happen in 90 days, when tenants will owe thousands of dollars over 3 months they couldn’t get work? And will a NYC rent freeze eventually happen?


As of April 13, New York Governor Cuomo still hasn’t supported the current senate legislation proposed with 22 co-sponsors to freeze rent for 90 days. He’s literally the only person who has not taken action, and unfortunately, he’s the only person with power to sign the bill. Like other New Yorkers, we’re confused as to why he’s decided not to go forward when everyone else, including Mayor Bill De Blasio, supports a rent freeze. 

The current bill proposed in the state legislature by State Senator Michael Gianaris forgives rent payments for 90 days for residential and small business commercial tenants who have lost income due to the coronavirus crisis. It also gives a break on mortgage payments to landlords of affected tenants. 

Again, an eviction moratorium is not enough. Curbed New York points out the state’s 90-day eviction suspensions protect tenants until at least mid-June, “but tenants who miss rent payments will still be on the hook for paying back their landlords. Without additional relief, lawmakers and tenant advocates say thousands of New Yorkers could face eviction once the moratorium is lifted, triggering mass displacement and fueling New York City’s homelessness crisis.”

On Monday’s press conference, Cuomo addressed the issue, yet dodged the issue at the same time, and nobody was happy with his evasiveness.

“We have said that no one can get evicted for nonpayment of rent and that to me is the fundamental answer,” Cuomo said. “That solves all of the above.” The governor added “no evictions for non-payment of rent and then we’ll see where we are.”

State Senator Michael Gianaris says: “The eviction moratorium, while good, does not solve the problem that is going to crash over us in three months time. That’s all the moratorium does; it pushes back the date but does not stop the financial obligation from accruing. The only way to really deal with this is to actually forgive the rent payments.”

Like many New Yorkers, I have a little bit of savings, but I need to prioritize my funds toward food and emergencies. The bigger issue? If Cuomo does not approve the rent freeze, there could be rent strikes, protests and possibly riots, which means social distancing will not be adhered to. This could turn ugly. 


The “good” news is that, according to a source who is an attorney in NYC Housing, Cuomo will likely sign. If he simply ignores the bill, the law goes into effect in one month, with or without his approval. If he vetoes the bill, he will have millions of New Yorkers angry at him, and that’s the last thing he needs. I guess we will have to wait to see whether he decides to step up or not.

In the meantime, if you’re hoping for a rent freeze, let your state rep know you support S8125A. Click here to sign.

And while you’re at it, don’t hesitate to let Governor Cuomo know he needs to take action and make a NYC rent freeze happen.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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