County gets $9M from feds to help landlords

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

“We took care of the tenants. Now we’re taking care of the landlords,” said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy.

ALBANY COUNTY — On Friday, the county received a $9 million check from the United States Department of Treasury to help landlords who have tenants not paying rent, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy announced on Sunday.

Some landlords haven’t collected rents in 10 months, he said, since protections were put in place to keep tenants from being evicted in the midst of the pandemic. President Joe Biden is extending that protection “and rightfully so,” said McCoy but, he went on about landlords, “They still have to pay their bills.

One of the executive orders signed by Biden within hours of his inauguration directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to extend through March 2021 the nationwide ban on evictions. 

Property taxes, McCoy noted, are among landlords’ expenses so the county budget is affected.

Counties with populations of at least 200,000 — Albany County has about 320,000 residents — were eligible to apply for the federal funds, McCoy said as he praised county staff for turning around an application in just three days.

Albany County’s $9 million can be used to make up for up to 12 months of back rents and up to three months in future rent payments. While landlords below the 80-percent area median income will be eligible, those below the 50-percent threshold will be prioritized.

The program will be run through the county’s Department of Social Services, McCoy said.

The program is not to benefit public-housing tenants or for mortgage payments, McCoy said. “It’s just for landlords.”

He went on, “It’s not like they’re all millionaires. They’re going through their savings.”

McCoy said the Albany County Legislature will bring this to its Audit and Finance Committee so that relief will be available quickly.

“We took care of the tenants. Now we’re taking care of the landlords,” McCoy said.

Andrew Joyce, who chairs the county legislature, issued a statement that linked tenants’ welfare to that of their landlords.

“Protecting Albany County residents from eviction and homelessness has been a critical first priority as we see our way through the devastating impacts of this pandemic,” Joyce said. “This helps us to continue to accomplish that goal.”


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