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Non-eviction order leads to a rise in luxury home squatting

By Mike Wheatley | May 23, 2020

With landlords no longer able to evict tenants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some tenants are taking advantage of the situation by squatting in some luxury, short-term rental homes. As a result, landlords say they’re missing out on thousands of dollars in rental payments.

The problem is that some short-term tenants who rented properties just before the coronavirus outbreak are now refusing to leave those homes, and the landlords don’t have any legal powers to get them out, the New York Post reported.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a moratorium on evictions in the state until at least August 20 in order to protect renters who’s struggling with financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that ruling has encouraged squatters in exclusive getaways such as the Hamptons to stay put, without paying any rent, even though their leases have expired.

“We’re not talking about poor people,” one homeowner told the Post. He said that his tenant began paying $3,600 a month in October to rent his Sag Harbor property in New York. But the tenant later told the owner they could not pay rent for April, and refused to leave the property.

The owner of the property says he’s missed out on payments worth $15,000 during May. Furthermore, he said the property is typically rented out for $55,000 during the Memorial and Labor day holidays.

Some landlords have resorted to offering their squatting ex-tenants cash as an incentive to leave their homes, but most have refused those offers, the Post reported.

Andrew Saunders, an agent with the Saunders & Associates brokerage firm, said that New York’s laws mean that squatting is still allowed to happen. The current non-eviction order doesn’t mean renters will get away without paying, as they will eventually have to pay for the months during which they’ve been living in the homes for free. But landlords say it’s mostly low-paying tenants from off-season rentals that are the ones who refuse to leave.

“It’s an unintended consequence of newer laws that prevent people from being evicted right now,” Saunders said. “The homeowners can’t get the March-April tenants out, and they have their higher-paying tenants set to arrive Memorial Day.”

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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