Tenants in New York City would be allowed to use existing security deposits to pay April rent under a plan floated by local officials to help ease the financial hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the proposal, tenants could use security deposits as rent for the month, with renters who opt into the program given 30 days to pay the money back or elect to obtain a low-cost insurance option.
“Renters need stability and certainty,” according to a draft letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo from the borough presidents of Manhattan and Brooklyn and two members of the City Council. “Giving tenants the option to move their security deposits towards rent provides a cushion as the rent-relief programs are discussed on the state and federal levels.”
New York City and its suburbs are the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. The local economy has been roiled, with travel restricted and businesses shuttered. That’s raised concerns that many New Yorkers will struggle to pay rent.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he supports the proposal, adding that with businesses closed around the city many residents are “hand-to-mouth.”
“That’s exactly the right approach,” he said at a press conference.