Brooklyn Renter? Here’s What You Need to Know Right Now

If you’re a Brooklyn renter right now, we don’t have to tell you how much is just up in the air right now. Will you be able to keep or get a new job? What happens after the 90-day eviction moratorium is up? Is everything going to be OK?

The honest answer is: We don’t know.

But we’re working hard to bring you as much info as we can so you can make informed choices. Below, see our answers (or links to answers) about some of your most-pressing questions.

As always, please reach out to us if you have any concerns we haven’t covered here.

Do I have to pay my rent?

If you’re still employed and all the circumstances of your job are the same (same pay, no hours cut), you should. Not only will it keep you in good graces with your landlord, it positions you to negotiate or bargain with your landlord later on if circumstances change.

If your hours or pay have been cut to the point where it’s eating into your ability to pay rent, we recommend reaching out to your landlord as soon as possible to work on a compromise. Here’s how we suggest you begin the hard conversation.  

Will I get evicted if I don’t pay?

For the time being, no. The state issued a moratorium on evictions that went into effect on March 16. While many advocacy groups are calling for a rent freeze, that has not yet happened and Governor Cuomo has not given any indication he is considering it. What happens once the moratorium is over, we can’t predict. There is a chance it will be extended but there’s no way of knowing due to the unpredictability of this pandemic. 

What if my lease is up during the next three months? 

Right now, it’s in the best interest of landlords to hold on to solid tenants. If you’ve consistently been on time with payments, you may have some room to negotiate with your landlord. Options include, shorter leases or going month to month. We’ve outlined some options here

Can I move right now? 

Yes, moving is considered an essential service and movers are still working and real estate agents are still showing apartments but only virtually for now. That means, your first contact with new listings will be online. For the time being, this is the only option. Should you move? Well, for obvious reasons, it may not be the best time. If it’s unavoidable, be sure to check in with both your current and future landlords on specific advice for tackling a move right now. There may be building protocols not normally in place.

What happens if I can’t pay but something goes wrong in my apartment? Do I still have the right to ask for repairs?

Because of the 90-day moratorium, your landlord should not be penalizing you for inability to pay rent right now. That said, it’s not a good or reasonable time to request something cosmetic like your annual paint touch-up. But if something critical breaks, you should ask for help. If your landlord doesn’t help you, you can reach out to the Housing Court hotline for advice about what to do next.

What if I have a question that’s not covered here?

Your best bet is to this COVID-19-specific website hosted and updated regularly by the city. It covers everything from quarantine questions, to Section 8 and personal safety from domestic violence. 

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