Cahill bill would let upstate cities opt for rent regulations

Among the proposals pending in Albany with three weeks to go in the session is a bill that would let upstate cities like Newburgh and Kingston opt for the same sort of restrictions on rent increases now in effect in New York City and offered to municipalities in three suburban counties.

The bill, sponsored in the Assembly by Kingston Democrat Kevin Cahill, already has been endorsed by the Newburgh and Kingston councils, each of which passed resolutions in support of the bill.

Kingston’s aldermen voted 8-1 on May 8 to support the legislation, declaring the city has an “unmet need for affordable housing opportunities to serve low and moderate income residents,” but no authority under current law “to form a local board that would determine annual allowable rental increases in order to protect tenants from arbitrary rent increases.”

Cahill’s bill would drop geographic limitations from the 1974 Emergency Tenant Protection Act so that any municipality in New York could opt into rent and eviction regulations if it has a housing emergency, defined as a vacancy rate of five percent or less. Those rules apply to apartment buildings with six or more units that were built before 1974, and are available now only in New York City and Rockland, Westchester and Nassau counties.

“Finding affordable housing is not an issue exclusive to our bigger cities and their surrounding areas,” Cahill said in a press release in April. “Tenants need and deserve protection regardless of where they live. This legislation provides a common-sense opt-in tool for municipalities all over the state to deal with rent emergencies.”

Co-sponsors of the bill include Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson, a City of Newburgh Democrat, and Democratic senators Jen Metzger of Rosendale and James Skoufis of Woodbury.

The Newburgh council passed its resolution supporting the bill on March 11. City Manager Joe Donat said at the time that 70 percent of Newburgh’s residential properties are rentals. “Essentially, it’s all about predictability for both the landlord and the renter,” Councilwoman Karen Mejia said of the legislation then.

The bill is one of nine that tenant advocates are pushing to strengthen protections against steep rent increases and evictions as lawmakers prepare to renew New York City rent regulations, which are set to expire on June 15. Other proposals would force landlords to provide a “good cause” in order to evict a tenant, such as failure to pay rent, and enable the owners of mobile homes to challenge their rent increases.

The Legislature’s Democratic leaders, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, issued a joint statement on Thursday vowing to “enact the strongest rent package ever – one that protects tenants and makes New York more affordable for all its residents.”

“It is clear landlords have had an unfair advantage for many years and that equity must be restored,” the statement read. “Both the Senate and Assembly majorities share a deep commitment to helping New Yorkers stay in their homes. United, we will advance a historic package of tenant protections that encompasses the principles of the nine bills that tenants have long awaited and deserve, as well as other critical housing protections.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Categories

  • Archives