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Eviction courts reopen Monday; Rochester tenants' union plans rally outside courthouse

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Monday marks the reopening of eviction courts in New York state and members of the Rochester City-wide Tenant Union are rallying at the Monroe County Hall of Justice on Monday morning in protest.

Advocates with the union say they want to pressure landlords not to file eviction cases while showing support for tenants at risk of eviction.

Members of the Rochester City-Wide Tenant Union hold up signs reading "#CancelRent" in a video call screenshot in May. - PHOTO CREDIT FACEBOOK | CITY-WIDE TENANT UNION OF ROCHESTER, NY
  • PHOTO CREDIT FACEBOOK | CITY-WIDE TENANT UNION OF ROCHESTER, NY
  • Members of the Rochester City-Wide Tenant Union hold up signs reading "#CancelRent" in a video call screenshot in May.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the eviction moratorium through August 20 for tenants eligible for unemployment or facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

However, the extension doesn’t prevent landlords from seeking an eviction through court order. Generally, tenants are able to postpone a hearing up to two weeks; if they are able to pay the amount owed, they can remain in their homes.

But, advocates say that those who did not qualify for unemployment or cannot prove hardship could be at higher risk of eviction. That could potentially disproportionately impact undocumented workers who did not qualify for unemployment or a stimulus check.

The Rochester City-wide Tenant Union is calling on local and state governments to forgive unpaid rent and mortgage payments up to ninety days after the state of emergency is lifted, a date that is yet to be determined.

Noelle E. C. Evans is a reporter for WXXI News, a media partner of CITY. She can be reached at nevans@wxxi.org.