Ulster exec announces new unit within public defender’s office to handle tenant issues

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced today the creation of a new unit to exclusively review tenant complaints related to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Tenant Protection Unit, staffed by members of the Ulster County Public Defender’s Office, will “assure that tenants’ rights are being protected through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ‘New York on Pause’ order,” which put all commercial or residential eviction under a 90-day moratorium.

In addition, the unit will serve as a liaison between the tenant and appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction, the State Attorney General, building inspectors and landlords, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, and other government resources to help protect tenants from illegal evictions.

“Ulster County has zero-tolerance for anyone taking advantage of our residents during this crisis,” said Ryan. “If you find yourself being evicted during the New York Pause order, I ask that you reach out to us immediately. I promise that we will both act swiftly to remedy the situation and make public those who have violated this order.”

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“My office stands ready to help any tenant in need of assistance during this trying time,” Acting-Ulster County Public Defender Clifford Owens said. “We are prepared to act quickly and reach out to any and all appropriate agencies to ensure that tenants’ rights are being fully met during COVID-19.”

Earlier this month in response to reports of landlords raising rent, County Executive Ryan called for a county-wide rent freeze to hold rent to its current level during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To make a tenant complaint, call 845-303-5503 or please visit: https://covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/covid-19-tenants-protection-unit-form/

There are currently 1,049 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ulster County and 19 fatalities.