BREAKING: Courts Uphold Kingston’s Rent Rollback, in a Massive Victory for Tenants

Kingston tenants won the first 15% rent rollback in 2022 amidst escalating rent crisis 

Kingston, Newburgh first upstate cities to opt into rent stabilization; Poughkeepsie, Ithaca, Albany, Rochester may soon follow

ALBANY – The Appellate Court, Third Department – the second highest court in the state – upheld the Kingston Rent Guidelines Board’s decision to rollback rent stabilized tenants’ rents by 15% in 2022. The Court wrote, “Nothing in the applicable statutory language explicitly requires that the Board adjust the rent upward rather than downward as petitioners claim, and petitioners’ argument as to why such a requirement should be implied is less than compelling.” 

Landlords sued to block Kingston’s rent stabilization in November 2022. The court sided with tenants on all counts, also affirming Kingston’s vacancy study and allowing tenants to challenge rent increases between January 2019 and July 2022. Between 2016 and 2020, median rent for a two bedroom apartment in Ulster County rose by nearly 50%

Kingston, NY was the first city in upstate New York to opt into rent stabilization, thanks to the organizing of Housing Justice for All member groups For the Many and Citizen Action. The 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, a hard won victory by Housing Justice for All, opened the door to rent stabilization upstate. 

This is a landmark decision that will embolden tenants across the state. Newburgh opted into rent stabilization last fall, and tenants in Poughkeepsie, Ithaca, Albany, and Rochester are currently working to bring rent stabilization to their cities as well. 

“Time and time again, ultra-wealthy landlords sue to block tenant protections so they can keep rent gouging vulnerable families. And time and time again, the courts side with tenants – including the most conservative U.S. Supreme Court in decades,” said Cea Weaver, Coalition Director of Housing Justice for All. “It’s time for the real estate industry to stop wasting their money on frivolous lawsuits and back down. When tenants come together to fight for our homes and neighborhoods, we win.”

The decision comes on the heels of several court rulings defending rent stabilization and siding with tenants; the U.S. Supreme Court – the most conservative Supreme Court in decades – dismissed challenges to rent stabilization in February and a New York Second Circuit panel ruled against landlords in two other challenges to rent stabilization in March. Tenants expect that courts will also rule against Newburgh landlords’ lawsuit challenging rent stabilization.

Tenants are currently fighting to ensure all tenants across New York State are protected from rent hikes and unfair evictions with the statewide Good Cause Eviction bill.

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