SAG HARBOR, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, some short-term renters left New York City for the Hamptons to sign March to Memorial Day leases in prime real estate beach heaven.
In Sag Harbor, residents are concerned Governor Cuomo’s non-eviction order through Aug. 20 to protect those financially struggling during COVD-19 may have been well-intended, but they believe it is backfiring.
“We have a squatter that won’t leave,” said Paula Rosado in an interview with CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan. “This is directly impacting our family financially, emotionally.”
The Rosados, who describe themselves as middle class from lower Manhattan, planned to move back into their modest Sag Harbor home May 1. But a tenant has allegedly twisted the eviction moratorium to his benefit.
“We have nowhere to go,” said Rosado. “We don’t have our home that we spent our life savings on to basically retreat to.”
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CBS2 tried to talk to the tenant, but he declined comment. CBS2 learned he has a high-paying job as a broker, a Range Rover in the driveway and has been accused of allegedly trashing and damaging the Rosados’ home. Additionally, the tenant also allegedly has German Shepherds against the lease policy and allegedly stopped paying the $3,600 per month for rent and utilities.
“Unfortunately, the best we can do is just document them,” said Sag Harbor Police Chief Austin McGuire. “We can’t really take action on it.”
The Rosados normally get tens of thousands of dollars during the Memorial Day to Labor Day season for their house and depend on the income for their son’s tuition. The Rosados are not the only family in the area being impacted by this problem.
“We will know more come Memorial Day weekend when other people try to come out and occupy houses,” said local photojournalist Doug Kuntz. “We have no idea what it’s going to be like.”
The summer season is right around the corner and many homeowners and landlords are trying to get tenants out so they can move in or rent their properties in order to make money during the summer.
“To see the condition that it’s in and we don’t have a place to go to right now, it’s just heartbreaking,” said Rosado.
Realtors told CBS2 the non-eviction directive doesn’t mean that renters won’t eventually have to pay up on the months they’ve been living for free. But, it’s a winless situation for homeowners because the prime rental season will be over when the moratorium expires and they will never been able to recoup their losses. CBS2’s calls to Gov. Cuomo’s office have yet to be returned.