What is Good Cause Eviction?
Good Cause Eviction protects tenants from unreasonable rent hikes and retaliatory or discriminatory evictions. Currently, when a lease expires for most apartments or homes in NY, the landlord can choose not to renew it for any reason and raise the rent as high as they want.
As a result, landlords can kick out tenants even for patently unfair reasons – like retaliation for raising concerns about living conditions – and spike the rent. There have been growing reports of rent hikes as high as 30, 50, even 100 %. For many working families, that kind of increase all but amounts to an eviction.
Good Cause can help families stay in their homes, fight unfair rent increases and evictions, and keep our neighborhoods stable and safe.
Why Do We Need It?
The housing crisis in New York is acute. Rents, evictions, and homelessness are at record highs. (See sidebar). NYC residential evictions are up 25-fold since the eviction moratorium ended in January.
Corporate landlords and private equity firms are increasingly buying up housing stock across New York – especially in low-income neighborhoods of color – and evicting tenants to flip properties and make a quick buck.
Without action now, more and more families will find themselves on the streets or unable to afford to live in our state.
How Will It Work?
Rent Increases: Good Cause requires landlords to justify rent hikes greater than 3% (or 150% of the Consumer Price Index). If a landlord raises rent above this rate, they must then be prepared to justify it before a judge who can demand to see the landlord’s books. If the tenant is unable to pay the increase and falls behind on rent, they can raise “Good Cause” as a defense in an eviction case.
Evictions: Good Cause gives tenants the power to challenge evictions that are arbitrary, retaliatory, or discriminatory. If a tenant has followed their lease and believes an eviction is without cause, they can ask a judge to determine if there is cause for termination and the landlord would be required to justify it.
Who Will Be Covered?
1.6 million households statewide – roughly half of the state’s renters. In some counties, especially upstate, 75% of tenants will be covered. (See map at right).
Who Will NOT Be Covered?
The law does not apply to small landlords or tenants in rent-regulated/rent-stabilized buildings, public housing, or Section 8 housing.
Will this ban landlords from evicting a tenant who’s disruptive or doesn’t pay rent?
NO. Landlords can still evict tenants who don’t pay rent, damage property or use the apartment illegally, as well as take the unit for themselves or a family member.
Is this rent control in disguise?
NO. It simply gives tenants a defense against unfair evictions, ultimately leaving their fate up to a judge. If a landlord has evidence that a higher rent is warranted – such as bills for emergency repairs – they can present that info to a judge and refute a tenant’s claims.
Will this hurt mom-and-pop landlords?
NO. Truly small landlords – owners of less than 4 units – are exempt from the law. Good Cause can actually help small homeowners struggling to compete in a market increasingly dominated by corporate landlords, who are using underhanded tactics to scoop up properties, push out tenants, and make it hard for homeowners who want to do right by their tenants to keep up.
Will this curb new housing construction?NO. New Jersey has had Good Cause since 1974 and apartment construction has boomed across the state. Good Cause also lets landlords set whatever rent they want when an apartment first appears on the market – which means a landlord can set them at a level that covers their construction costs and debt levels.
- Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD)
- Binghamton Tenants Union
- Brooklyn Defender Services
- Broome Street Tenants Alliance
- CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities
- Carroll Gardens Association
- CASA – New Settlement
- Catholic Migration Services
- Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY
- Chhaya CDC
- Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC)
- Churches United for Fair Housing
- Citizen Action of NY
- City-Wide Tenant Union of Rochester
- Community Service Society of New York
- Community Voices Heard
- Cooper Square Committee
- Crown Heights Tenant Union
- Downtown Women for Change
- DRUM: Desis Rising Up & Moving
- East Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust
- Empire State Indivisible
- For the Many
- Free the People WNY
- Greater NYC for Change
- Housing Conservation Coordinators
- Housing Court Answers
- Housing Organizers for People Empowerment (HOPE)
- Housing Rights Initiative
- Housing Works
- Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition
- Hudson Valley Justice Center
- Hunger Free America
- Ithaca Tenants Union
- League of Independent Theater
- Long Island Progressive Coalition
- Los Sures Lucha
- Lower Hudson Valley DSA
- Make the Road New York
- Met Council on Housing
- Mount Vernon United Tenants
- Neighbors Together
- New Economy Project
- New York City Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI)
- New York City DSA
- New York Civil Liberties Union
- New York Communities for Change
- New York Working Families Party
- Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition
- NYS Poor People’s Campaign
- Open Hearts Initiative
- Partnership for the Public Good
- Pratt Center for Community Development
- Program Design and Development, LLC
- PUSH Buffalo
- RENA (Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association)
- Resource Generation NYC
- Ridgewood Tenants Union
- Right to Counsel NYC Coalition
- Southside United HDFC-Los Sures
- St Nicks Alliance
- Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center
- Strong Economy For All Coalition
- Syracuse Tenants Union
- Tenants & Neighbors
- Tenants Political Action Committee
- The Legal Aid Society
- Troy DSA
- United Neighbors Organization
- Urban Democracy Lab at NYU
- Urban Justice Center – Safety Net Project
- Volunteer Lawyers Project of CNY, Inc.
- Voters For Animal Rights
- WE ACT for Environmental Justice
- Woodside on the Move
- 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
- American Federation of Musicians, Local 802
- Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325
- Committee of Interns and Residents of SEIU
- Communication Workers of America, District One
- District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
- Legal Services Staff Association, UAW Local 2320
- Local One I.A.T.S.E. NYC Stagehands PAC
- Hotel and Gaming Trades Council
- Professional Staff Congress
- New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board, Workers United/SEIU
- New York State Nurses Association
- New York Taxi Workers Alliance
- United Auto Workers Region 9A
Members of Congress
- Jerry Nadler
- Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
- Jamaal Bowman
- Mondaire Jones
- Hakeem Jeffries
- Nydia Velazquez
- Adriano Espaillat
- Yvette Clarke
- Carolyn Maloney
- Grace Meng
- Ritchie Torres