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"Good Cause" Eviction Protections Gain Steam

Albany’s local Common Council passed the “Good Cause Eviction” measure last week, capping annual rent increases at 5 percent and identifying specific conditions that must be met before a landlord can evict a residential tenant.

This is the first measure of its kind to be passed in New York State, although tenant advocates are pushing for similar legislation to be adopted in Rochester and Buffalo. They’re also hopeful that comparable protections would soon be enacted statewide. “Local government seeking action is a clear message that rules like this are needed and wanted,” said Cea Weaver of the Housing Justice for All coalition.

A similar proposal has already been introduced in the state legislature by Sen. Julia Salazar. According to what we see currently in the “In Committee” stage at the Senate and the Assembly, landlords would be prohibited from taking any action to remove a tenant from a housing accommodation except for "good cause" – which is defined as “failure to pay rent, the violation of a substantial obligation of the tenancy, committing or permitting a nuisance, permitting the premises to be used for an illegal purpose, or if, under certain conditions, the premises are to be personally occupied by the landlord or close relatives of the landlord as their primary residence.”

If rent increases are “unreasonable,” then tenants cannot be evicted for nonpayment. “Unreasonable” is defined as any increase in excess of three percent of the annual rent, or 150 percent of the region’s Consumer Price Index, as set by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — whichever is higher. The law would also give all residential tenants the right to lease renewals, except for those owner-occupied buildings with fewer than four units.

Of course, property owners are not pleased that Albany approved the “Good Cause Eviction” bill. “It is really going to disincentivize future investment,” said Laura Burns, CEO of the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. “In the city of Albany, these are mostly mom and pops who are really going to feel it.”

But Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan believes the new law puts the city in a “better position to ensure landlords, tenants and the city have the tools needed to provide secure and quality housing.”

SOURCE - https://therealdeal.com/2021/07/20/albany-passes-good-cause-eviction-bill-tenant-advocates-vow-rest-of-ny-is-next/