2020 Census Update – A House Divided
In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ended the pandemic-related federal moratorium on residential evictions. The Court granted a request by a coalition of landlords and real estate trade groups to lift the moratorium imposed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was set to expire on Oct. 3. The CDC’s pause on evictions policy was intended to combat the spread of COVID-19 and prevent homelessness during the pandemic.
The Biden administration has urged states, cities, landlords, and others to do what they can to help. In response, Gov. Kathy Hochul plans to hold a special legislative session, effectively pulling the New York State Senate and Assembly out of recess, to address evictions by increasing tenant protection efforts. New York’s eviction moratorium expires on Aug. 31.
Low and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability can reach out to the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and apply for the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which could provide a year of protection against eviction. $2.7 billion in state and federal funding has been allocated to the initiative.
ERAP applications may be submitted online, otda.ny.gov/ERAP, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Answers to frequently asked questions are posted on the website. There are no immigration status requirements to qualify and households eligible for rental arrears may also be eligible for help paying utility arrears at the same rental unit.
Landlords may start the ERAP application by providing information about how much rent arrears are owed. Then, a tenant will receive an email or text to complete the other part by providing income information. The application must be signed by the tenant before it is processed.
According to 2020 Census data, for Westchester County’s 1,004,457 residents, the median gross monthly rent was $1,537. The median gross monthly mortgage was $3,452. For renters, the ERAP could provide significant economic relief. For homeowners with a mortgage, and with interest rates continuing to decline, refinancing now could save you hundreds of dollars a month on your mortgage payment.
For example, if you have a $250,000 balance on your 30-year mortgage at a 4% interest rate, your monthly payment would be approximately $1,200, according to the Grow Acorns mortgage calculator; https://grow.acorns.com/mortgage-calculator. But if the interest rate drops to 3%, your monthly payment falls to $1,054, saving you almost $150 each month, and more than $1,700 each year. The savings could be used to pay down the mortgage or other debts faster or increase contributions to a retirement account.
Refinancing your mortgage or inquiring whether your current lender provides a loan modification option could help keep more coins in your pocket. Shop around for the right lender for your situation and talk through best- and worst-case scenarios with a financial advisor, accountant, or an attorney.