Upstate Hudson shoots down “good cause” rent law

Pols: Move blocks chance to protect tenants from skyrocketing rents

Hudson City Hall (Google)
Hudson City Hall (Google)

A law protecting renters that is making the rounds in hot real estate markets upstate was voted down in Hudson, New York, this week, according to the Albany Times Union.

So-called good cause eviction laws require the automatic renewal of residential leases for tenants whose accounts with their landlords are in good standing. Landlords who have kept rent increases under a certain threshold, such as 5 percent, would still be allowed to evict tenants, but only for a “good cause,” such as nonpayment of rent, damaging property or conducting illegal activity.

Such laws have already been approved in other upstate cities including Albany and Newburgh but was shot down in Hudson after a 5-5 vote, with one abstention, by its Common Council on Wednesday, according to the newspaper. The bill needed a majority to pass.

This was the second attempt to get the bill through. It was passed by the Council earlier this year but vetoed by Mayor Kamal Johnson because it was not pro-tenant enough. Johnson objected to a provision that would allow landlords to evict tenants if they were selling the building.

Johnson stumped for the bill in August with Council member Tiffany Garriga and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who has since announced plans to run for governor.

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Rents in Hudson and other upstate downs have been headed upward over the past decade as residents from New York City began buying homes there — a trend that kicked into high gear during the pandemic. Garriga noted before the vote that gentrification was “taking over,” according to the newspaper.

“Landlords are upset because they won’t have that 100 percent control to raise rent for whatever reason and then evict their tenants for whatever reason [deemed] justified by them. This law makes it fair,” she said.

But landlords do not consider it fair that the government suddenly limit what rent they can charge for their free-market properties.

Similar laws are being challenged in court. Three landlords and companies associated with them filed suit in Albany claiming the good cause law there violates state laws limiting local government involvement in regulating rent and evictions, and alleges that the city violated a process set out in the state law regarding rent stabilization, according to the paper.

[Albany Times Union] — Vince DiMiceli