Tenants Have New Rights!

NYS passed Good Cause Eviction Protections against rent hikes and unfair evictions in April 2024. If you are eligible for Good Cause, you now have a right to remain in your home as long as you pay rent and follow your lease.

Kingston Opts into Good Cause Eviction Protections

Kingston Becomes Second City Outside Of NYC To Opt Into Good Cause Eviction; Ithaca, Poughkeepsie, and Rochester To Soon Follow

Kingston’s Expansive Good Cause Will Protect Nearly Every Kingston Renter From Rent Hikes and Unfair Evictions

KINGSTON  – Kingston Common Council voted to opt into Good Cause Eviction Protections this evening, following passage of a state law authorizing the policy in April. Introduced by Kingston Alders Michele Hirsch and Michael Tierney, Good Cause Eviction Protections will protect nearly every Kingston tenant from rent hikes and unfair evictions, as well as guarantee lease renewals to tenants who’ve been paying rent and following their lease. Good Cause will go into effect in Kingston once signed into law by Mayor Steve Noble.

This landmark victory for Kingston tenants comes after years of organizing by Housing Justice for All coalition members For the Many and Mid-Hudson Valley DSA. New York State passed Good Cause Evictions in April, which immediately took effect in New York City and allowed upstate municipalities to opt in. 

Momentum across upstate for Good Cause Grows, as Albany opted into the protections last month, and Ithaca, Poughkeepsie and Rochester will vote on opting in later this summer. Poughkeepsie also held a hearing on Good Cause this evening, where numerous tenants shared stories of unfair treatment by landlords and called on Poughkeepsie to opt in.

Tenants covered by Good Cause will be able to challenge rent hikes that are more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 5%, (8.45% upstate as of May 2024) or 10%, whichever is lower. Landlords will have to demonstrate that they have a “Good Cause” in order to evict or non-renew a tenant, including not paying rent, lease violations, and nuisance activity. To learn more about how tenants can enforce their Good Cause rights, tenants can reach out to For the Many’s Tenant Power Hotline at 845-481-0882.

Governor Kathy Hochul introduced numerous exemptions to Good Cause to limit its coverage, following a 14 million dollar lobbying campaign by the real estate industry to water down the protections. Still, state law allows upstate municipalities to adjust certain exemptions to adapt to local market conditions and cover more renters. Alders Hirsch and Tierney fought to ensure Kingston’s Good Cause covers nearly every Kingston renter by closing the “LLC Loophole” and defining a higher-rent exemption than the state version of the law.

With over half of Kingston tenants rent-burdened, Good Cause will help alleviate the city’s housing crisis, where median rent for a two-bedroom apartment rose by nearly 50% between 2016 and 2020. Kingston had previously passed a local Good Cause law in 2022, but the city repealed its version due to fear of lawsuits; a state Supreme Court later ruled that only the state could pass the measure.

In order to be eligible for Good Cause, Kingston tenants must live in a building built before 2009; pay less than 300% of Fair Market Rent (~$3900/month for a one bedroom); rent from a landlord who owns more than 1 rental units total; not live in an owner-occupied building with fewer than 11 units, not live in a co-op or condo; not rent their home as part of an employment agreement; not live in manufactured housing; and not live in rent stabilized, subsidized, or public housing.

New York state allowed municipalities to change two exemptions: the real estate portfolio size exemption, which exempts tenants based on how many units their landlords own, and a high rent exemption, which excludes tenants paying over a certain percentage of Fair Market rent.

Albany, Kingston, and Ithaca’s version of Good Cause closes the “LLC Loophole.” New York CIty’s Good Cause excludes tenants whose landlords own more than 10 units, but setting the portfolio exemption at any number other than a single unit allows landlords to avoid the law by hiding how many units they own behind anonymous LLCs. Only Rochester’s proposed Good Cause maintains the New York City exemptions.

“From being the first upstate city to opt into rent stabilization to now opting into Good Cause Eviction, Kingston is leading the way in Upstate New York,” said Alderperson Michele Hirsch. “By passing this expansive version of Good Cause, Kingston is protecting nearly every renter from unjust rent hikes and evictions. Tenant protections like Good Cause are vital for stabilizing our neighborhoods and ensuring healthy, affordable communities for everyone.”

“The adoption of the Good Cause Eviction Protections in Kingston is a monumental step towards addressing our housing crisis,” said Alderman Michael Tierney. “By covering as many renters as possible, we are not only protecting tenants from unjust practices but also fostering a more equitable and just community. This victory is a testament to the power of collective action and a clear message that housing justice is a priority for our city.”

“Tonight’s victory shows that when tenants organize, we win. Kingston has made history by becoming the second city in Upstate New York to opt into Good Cause Eviction. This will keep our neighbors in their homes, prevent housing prices from continuing to skyrocket, and grant tenants basic protections in their dealings with landlords,” said For the Many Political Director Brahvan Ranga. “This victory builds on a host of groundbreaking housing justice legislation enacted here in Kingston and across the Hudson Valley, such as rent stabilization. We urge Mayor Noble to sign the legislation as soon as possible and call on other cities to enact Good Cause Eviction protections and rent stabilization to address the housing crisis facing the Hudson Valley.”

“Until now the majority of Kingston renters lived with the fear that if we complained about needed repairs or pushed back against sky high rent increases we’d be told it was time to get out,” said Mid-Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists of America member Tristan Shepherd. Good Cause Eviction protections will make it possible for tenants to rest easier, knowing that so long as we pay the rent we won’t lose our homes. Today Kingston is sending a strong message that no matter who your landlord is or how many buildings they own, every tenant deserves housing stability.”

“Governor Kathy Hochul may have tried to leave out millions of upstate renters from Good Cause, but tenants across upstate New York are fighting back and winning the protections they deserve,”  said Cea Weaver, Coalition Director of Housing Justice for All. “No matter where we live, we all deserve a safe, stable and affordable home. Our coalition will keep organizing until every renter has Good Cause protections and rent stabilization.”

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Housing Justice for All is a statewide coalition of more than 80 organizations representing tenants and homeless New Yorkers, united in our fight for housing as a human right.

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