Dear Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie:
We are New York’s leading and largest labor unions and collectively represent hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers across the state. We write to you today in support of “Good Cause” eviction protections, a statewide bill sponsored by Senator Julia Salazar and Assemblymember Pamela Hunter.
As you know, our members care for the sick and vulnerable, teach and support our students, provide essential services for public and private employers, manufacture high quality products and more.
With the support of elected leaders like you, we fight for fair wages and respectful working conditions every day in workplaces across New York. But too often, the wage gains our members win at the bargaining table are wiped away by the escalating cost of rental housing, and this has never been more dire than now.
Since last year, rents have and continue to soar throughout the state, displacing our members from their homes.
According to a recent report issued by Douglas Elliman, the average median rent in Manhattan this past January rose to $4,097, a 15.4 percent increase from $3,550 compared to January 2022. The median rental price in Brooklyn for the same period jumped 25 percent to $3,499 compared to $2,800 from a year ago. Median January 2023 rents in northwest Queens, meanwhile, increased 14.2 percent from $2,950 to $3,369 compared to January 2022.
This is a snapshot of what our members are dealing with in all counties throughout New York State. And because New York lacks basic tenant protections afforded to our members who reside in unregulated apartments, these unimaginable rent increases or unjust evictions will continue unless Albany acts.
Housing insecurity is one of the key stressors for working-class families, and can lead to spiraling problems. The sad reality is that when workers miss too many days of work because they have to appear in eviction court, or when they are forced to move too far away from their jobs to find an affordable place to live, they can lose their jobs.
While some renters have protections to allow them housing stability, there are at least 1.6 million households across New York State that have NO protections against evictions or unreasonable rent hikes.
“Good Cause” eviction provides the necessary legal framework for landlords and tenants to navigate the eviction process fairly. The bill would protect working class tenants from price-gouging, speculative displacement, and discriminatory evictions. It allows landlords to recoup a fair investment in their properties and pursue non-payment and other necessary eviction cases. Homeowners who live in the building they own and rent out would be exempted from the bill, ensuring that the legislation protects homeowners, including union members, who need extra income while providing a path to stability for renters.
The legislation has robust support across the state, with nearly two in three likely voters in New York in favor of passing Good Cause, and more than 60% of voters in support even in more conservative areas of the state like Long Island and Western New York.
Other jurisdictions including New Jersey, Oregon and Washington have similar “Good Cause” protections codified as law, and Los Angeles enacted a similar measure earlier this year to address the local eviction and affordable housing crisis.
“Good Cause” would”
- Require landlords to have a “good cause” to terminate a tenancy;
- Allow tenants to challenge “unreasonable” rent increases – over 150% of the consumer price index, or about seven percent in 2023;
- Permit landlords to raise rents for necessary building improvements or an increase in operating costs.
We implore you to include “Good Cause” in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. You have acknowledged that tenants are at a breaking point and in need of relief now. “Good Cause” would deliver that relief – with no impact to the budget – and help our members and your constituents remain in their homes.
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Committee of Interns and Residents, SEIU
Doctors Council, SEIU
Communication Workers of America, District 1
District Council 37
Hotel and Gaming Trades Council
Local One I.A.T.S.E. NYC Stagehands PAC
Local 802, American Federation of Musicians
New York Professional Nurses Union
New York State Nurses Association
New York Taxi Workers Alliance
Professional Staff Congress/CUNY
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union
United Auto Workers Region 9A
United Federation of Teachers
Workers United, SEIU