Dozens of eviction notices served in Watertown after moratorium ends

Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 5:29 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - New York’s eviction moratorium ended only a little more than 2 weeks ago, and already dozens of notices have been served in Watertown. That’s just between two property management groups.

Forte Management Group and its owner Stephen Byers have been busy since New York ended its protections for tenants who couldn’t pay rent due to the pandemic, known as the eviction moratorium.

That was dropped in January and Byers says he has had to draw up quite a few eviction notices since.

“We’re probably working somewhere around 20 of them right now,” he said. “Fourteen years of doing this, I’ve probably actually had to see through maybe 10 evictions.”

At Matteson Property Management, owner and broker Micah Matteson says he’s working through 8 evictions right now.

“Usually, we only do 1 or 2 per year,” he said.

Matteson says between notices and court dates, it can take some time to actually move a tenant out.

“Six weeks to evict - minimum. More likely 8 weeks to get the person completely out,” he said.

But, the state has thrown tenants a lifeline called the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP.

People have been able to apply for federal dollars that will cover up to a year of rent missed because of the pandemic.

Even the application appears to afford some protection.

“We do have to wait until the results come in from ERAP before we make any type of decision,” said Matteson.

Byers says he has accepted ERAP payments from some tenants, and has worked with others to catch up on missed rent.

Overall, he’s happy the moratorium has finally been lifted after almost 2 years.

“It’s good to finally have some teeth to people who haven’t paid for a long time,” he said.

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