The pandemic has forced governments around the world to make emergency laws and regulations to help people impacted by it. While many are thankful and using the extra help to make ends meet, others are exploiting the system to their benefits.
The US moved in swiftly last spring. They quickly made evictions illegal to help offset the hardships people who’d lost their jobs could face. This was ushered in by the Center for Disease Control. The ban helped prevent over 40 million Americans from losing their homes.
The ban was extended this past January by President Joe Biden. It is scheduled to expire at the end of this month. Several organizations including the AARP, the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union have been petitioning for it to be extended further.
Extending the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures to help countless Americans keep a roof over their head — that’s the American Rescue Plan. pic.twitter.com/Xbviqqr47w— President Biden (@POTUS) February 4, 2021
While many Americans are benefiting from this, one woman in Brooklyn is exploiting a dangerous loophole in the law that has her currently homeless and struggling to evict her deadbeat tenant.
Shawna Eccles, 30, has been trying to evict Sharita Patterson, 33, from her two-family home in Canarsie since December. Covid related laws are helping protect Patterson from eviction, even though she owes over $14,700 in rent.
today in Whose Property Is It Anyway:#NYC landlord is homeless— Beverly A. Pekala (@PekalaLaw) March 14, 2021
Forced to live in her car
tenant Sharita Patterson owes rent
since before August 2020, says LL
Law says #landlord can’t begin eviction until May.
At the earliest.#Crimes #Theft #Sunday #realestate #thisweek pic.twitter.com/iVHstqtcb3
“There is no one I can stay with until I am able to evict, and all of my money covers the mortgage, water bill and property taxes,” Eccles told The New York Post. “If anything gets cut off, it will be considered an illegal eviction. I have no additional funds to rent an apartment.”
Eccles is currently crashing on couches of friends and relatives whenever she can. When she can’t she sleeps in her four-door Toyota.
This is all due to her tenant Patterson checking a box on the “hardship declaration” form given to New Yorkers for Covid assistance. It claims she’s been financially impacted by COVID-19 and is unable to move or pay rent.
Despite checking this box, its reported that Patterson has been able to purchase a brand new vehicle and has been running a candle business out of the house.
According to the New York Post “The city Department of Social Services recently told Eccles that Patterson has rejected its offers of rental assistance so she could find a new apartment, the landlord claims. The “hardship declaration” seems to be a free pass, the landlord said. “They don’t have to prove it and they don’t allow us to challenge it,” said Eccles, who has been trying to evict Patterson since August.”
The post reported “Without any rental income for months, Eccles thought she was close to a legal settlement with Patterson in December. Believing Patterson was about to vacate, she rented the home’s first floor to an elderly woman and moved out to temporarily live with friends. When Patterson backed out at the last minute, and signed the hardship declaration, Eccles was essentially left homeless.”