Thiele Votes Against 'Too Broad' Eviction Legislation - 27 East

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Thiele Votes Against ‘Too Broad’ Eviction Legislation

Brendan J. OReilly on Jun 1, 2020

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor bucked his caucus last week when he voted against legislation to prevent evictions during the COVID-19 crisis.

A member of the Independence Party who caucuses with the Democrats, Mr. Thiele said in a statement Monday that the legislation, which ultimately passed the Assembly, was too broad.

“As was the case with the 2019 Housing Act, this legislation fails to make a distinction between primary residences and seasonal rentals,” Mr. Thiele said. “The vagueness in these laws could lead to the possibility that a court will interpret these provisions as applying to seasonal leases. By simply providing one month’s rent, a seasonal tenant could enjoy a full season without any remedy for eviction with no remedy for the homeowner.”

He added that such situations have already been reported.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an eviction moratorium on March in light of the COVID-19 crisis. He has since extended the moratorium until August 20 with the caveat that renters must be on unemployment insurance or be experiencing a COVID-related hardship.

Mr. Thiele said he supported legislation to provide rent relief, mortgage relief, property tax relief, and utility shut-off protection, but that he could not support eviction legislation as long as it remains overly broad.

“Seasonal tenancies are not within the intended zone of protection,” he said. “The goal is to keep New Yorkers in their primary residence during the pandemic, not provide legal immunity for vacationers. The solution is simple. One sentence that exempts seasonal rentals from the law.”

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