It’s a sad situation for landlords in New York City right now, especially for the “Mom and Pop” landlords in Queens and Brooklyn. The powers that be have decided that it is ok for people to live rent-free until the mandate is lifted. Now, I understand that at the beginning of this crazy situation there were many businesses that went under and therefore those jobs were lost. However, since then (especially recently) businesses are literally begging people to come to work for them. But there is still a portion of the adult population that has not returned to work. I have had some clients even tell me that they have offered tenants money to leave or in some cases even offered them and their spouses jobs so that they can get back to work – and they were told “NO” and these tenants have continued to stay home and receive payments from the government to do so. These same tenants have not paid any rent up until now either. This puts a major burden and financial stress on the landlords who depend on that income to pay their own mortgage. You are still responsible to pay YOUR mortgage, and yet your tenant does not need to pay you at this point according to the State of New York. You cannot even evict these people due to their rights being protected. So how do you get your back rent from these people? The government is telling you that the tenant will be responsible for the back rent once the mandate is lifted, however, you know in your gut that this may not be the case. How to do you hold them accountable for this large amount of back rent that is now owed?
The problem is that many of these people, who have been receiving help from the government during this time, have not been giving it to you for rent or putting this money away, in anticipation of paying you back. Instead, they have been living off of this stimulus money. Therefore, how do you get the money that you are entitled to once the mandate is lifted?
According to the latest directives from the newly appointed Governor of New York, Governor Hochul has just extended the protection for tenants to avoid evictions until January of 2022. However, you should be aware of the following important information, which is directly copied from the New York State website as of September 25, 2021. You can read the entire article at https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-new-moratorium-covid-related-residential-and-commercial-evictions-law:
- “The law establishes a new $250 million Supplemental Emergency Rental Assistance program to serve additional households and to better support landlords. Through this program, $125 million will be made available to provide assistance to households with income that exceeds 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), and up to 120% of AMI. Additionally, $125 million will be made available for assistance to landlords whose tenants refuse to participate or have vacated the residence with arrears.
- Under New York’s enacted moratorium, tenants must submit a hardship declaration, or a document explaining the source of the hardship, to prevent an eviction proceeding from moving forward. Landlords who believe that their tenant has not suffered a financial hardship will now be permitted to request a hearing in court.
- Landlords can also evict tenants that are creating safety or health hazards for other tenants, intentionally damaging property, and where a tenant did not submit a hardship declaration.
- The legislation places a moratorium on residential foreclosure proceedings so that homeowners and small landlords who own 10 or fewer residential dwellings can file hardship declarations with their mortgage lender, other foreclosing party, or a court that would prevent a foreclosure.
- The legislation’s moratorium on commercial evictions and commercial foreclosure proceedings apply to small businesses with 100 or fewer employees that demonstrate a financial hardship. Tenants must submit a hardship declaration, or a document explaining the source of the hardship, to prevent evictions.”
With this information in mind, we also understand that many of the tenants that are way behind in their rent will try to leave without paying you any of it. For this reason, we want to help you to be proactive. We can help you to find these tenants so you will be able to pursue legal recourse. When we have the best possible information to begin the search, we can find them even faster.
If you have a tenant that you feel is going to leave before making any attempt to pay you the back rent that you are entitled to, you must be ready if or when that day comes. When you discover they have vacated the premises without letting you know how they plan to repay you or where they are moving to, you are already at a disadvantage. In order to make this process much faster, you need to start collecting as much information as possible. Here are just a few suggestions of information that you should be collecting NOW and not after the tenant has left without a trace:
- Take photographs of the tenant – this is always important to have when we are trying to confirm their new location. The more recent the photograph the better. While a photo of them from four years ago on Facebook when they were at a restaurant in Glendale is a start, they may have changed their look significantly since then. It is much easier to work with current photos than older, outdated ones.
- Take photographs of the tenant’s vehicle or vehicles – take a photo of the side, front and back of any vehicles that the tenant(s) are currently driving. Pay attention to the license plate as well as any damage, decals, etc. that are easily noticed. This will help when we are canvassing an area for their vehicle in the future.
- Take notice of any visitors that come there – especially the visiting vehicle’s license plate. If they have a friend or family member that often visits, they may go to stay with them when the time comes and the vehicle information may be an indicator of where they went.
- Make copies of the lease and the information used when you originally agreed to rent to them. Driver’s licenses are a big help if you have a copy of it or wrote down the information when originally renting to them – especially date of birth, full legal name (including middle name or initial), driver’s license number, etc.
- Any email addresses, telephone numbers, usernames, etc. that you have are very helpful.
- Any information on the school that their children currently attend is also helpful – especially if they tend to drive their children to and from school. If we know that they go to an elementary school in Woodside, we want to make sure that we are at the correct school. It won’t help if we are at PS 12 only to find their children attend Woodside Community School. Having the correct school name gives us the opportunity to spot the vehicle or tenant quickly and possibly follow them to their new location.
- If you have any other information, such as relatives or friends, that can also be helpful. Knowing the tenant has a mother they visit often in Brookville gives us a potential place to find them and then follow them to their new residence. It also provides a potential place they may be staying in temporarily.
- If you know where they were working (or where you suspect they are working now). If they used to work at a garage in Fresh Meadows, there is a chance they could still be there and working off the books. This could be a lead as to where we can follow them from to find their new residence.
All of these suggestions will help us to get a faster result for you and the sooner you have a location to serve them with papers, the sooner you can begin the process to start receiving back rent payments.
The most important advice that we can give you is this – We at Investigreat are the premier missing person locate service in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and more. We work with landlords just like you to track down tenants that have skipped out on their back rent. The moratorium will eventually end. You need to be proactive in order to protect yourself and the future payments that are due to you. We do our proprietary data base searches and our deep web searches in sites that the public does not have access to. This gives you better results than just going with some unknown online service that promises to give you information for a very low cost. Most of our experience with former clients who have gone this route often turns out to be old information that will not help you. These sites also do not go out in person to confirm the location of the person – we do it old school. We actually go physically to the location to make sure the information is correct. If your online search says they are in Bed Stuy and ours says they are in Greenpoint, we will go to both locations to confirm where they are. Most times, they are where we determine them to be. If they are not in either location, we continue to search until we find them. Maybe they are staying at a relative’s home in Brookville. Wherever they are, we will do our best to track them down so that you have what you need to serve them and start the process to getting back the money you are owed.
So our advice is to be pro-active and start the process before you need to. Contact us today to start and be prepared when the time comes. We are ready to help you. Whether that means waiting until they leave, or compiling the information for you now so you are prepared when they move out during the night. The race is about to begin. All you need to do is let us know when you are ready to start. We are ready when you are. Ready, set, go!
Investigreat, LLC is a recognized full service Private Investigation Agency that is fully licensed, insured and bonded, handling cases in Queens NY, Brooklyn NY, Bronx NY, New York City, Staten Island and Long Island NY and all over Connecticut. Terri Dornfeld along with her husband, Adam have been working cases for Legal Teams, Insurance Companies, Private Businesses, Municipalities, School Systems and general investigation services for the public since 1992.
Investigreat, LLC | Private Investigators serving Jamaica NY, Brooklyn NY, Queens NY, Connecticut | Office: 718-412-1845 | Text: 718-309-1269