The Common Council Housing and Transportation Committee met last night. According to Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), who chairs the committee, the only thing on the agenda was a resolution she had proposed back in April calling for a rent freeze or rent reduction for residential tenants in Hudson. In the discussion, Garriga spoke of "rent cancellation," saying she didn't want to see "a slew of evictions" when the COVID-19 crisis was over and rent that had been deferred came due. She reported that so far she had not received a draft of the resolution she had proposed from Jeff Baker, counsel to the Council.
Alderman Shershah Mizan (Third Ward) said he was being asked by landlords about how they can meet their expenses if people aren't paying their rent. Garriga responded, "People will get evicted while landlords will still own their buildings."
Council president Tom DePietro opined, "The Peekskill one is perfect," referring to a resolution regarding tenants and landlords passed by the Common Council in the City of Peekskill which was brought to the attention of the committee by Alderman Rebecca Wolff (First Ward). It was decided that Wolff should adapt the Peekskill resolution for Hudson, and they would "pass it through Jeff" before presenting it to the full Council at the informal meeting next Monday.
Today, in his daily COVID-19 briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he was extending rent relief, on both residential and commercial buildings, which was set to expire in June, for another 60 days, until August 20.
When asked by a reporter what would happen on August 20, Cuomo responded, "Whatever happens, we will handle it." In addition to saying that he was "working on relief from the banks for landlords," Cuomo said, "I don't want to see people evicted at this time."
At last night's committee meeting, Wolff brought up another issue, prompted by a letter she had received from a constituent complaining that people are "still coming from New York because they are still welcome." The letter seemed mostly concerned about standards of cleanliness in rental units, but it inspired Wolff to call for a moratorium on short-term rentals. "Let's put community over profit and shut them down," she suggested. Garriga complained there were "a lot of people and out-of-towners on the street without masks." Wolff concurred. "People are trying to enact a little vacation in our city when they are supposed to stay home." DePietro called the current Airbnb situation "very disturbing," alleging, "People are advertising this as an escape from New York."
Mizan said that, in Bangladesh, people who come from elsewhere must report to the police and observe a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine. Wolff asked, "Can we do that here?" It was determined that the answer to the question was another thing they would have to find out from Baker.
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