Albany makes state history with “good cause eviction” vote

City is upstate’s first to adopt landmark tenant protections

Albany Makes State History With “Good Cause Eviction” Vote
Housing Justice for All coalition director Cea Weaver and Albany Common Council Member Alfredo Balarin (Getty, Facebook)

Albany this week became New York’s first city to opt into the good cause eviction legislation enabled by the state budget deal.

Fourteen members of the Albany Common Council voted in favor of the measure on Monday evening, Housing Justice for All announced. The law will apply to tenants who rent from landlords who own more than one unit in the state. Eligible tenants must be living in homes that are not owner-occupied, built after 2009 and rent for below 345 percent of fair market rent.

“As both a property owner and Common Council Member in Albany, I have long understood that Good Cause stabilizes neighborhoods and ensures healthy and affordable communities for everyone,” Common Council member Alfredo Balarin, who introduced the opt-in resolution, said in a statement.

Under state law, tenants in good standing must be given a lease renewal. If an annual rent increase is more than 10 percent, or inflation plus 5 percent, and tenants challenge an eviction in court, a landlord must prove the increase was justified.

Condos, co-ops, manufactured homes, sublets and dorms, and, for 30 years from completion, rentals built in 2009 or later, are exempt in the state law. Small landlords are also exempt, though state lawmakers allowed municipalities to define the term outside of New York City.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Rent in Albany has risen 30 percent from 2011 to 2022, according to the American Community Survey. That breaks down to roughly 2.4 percent in average annual increases, far below the annual limits included in the state law.

Nobody walked away from the state budget totally pleased by the “good cause” measure featured. Landlords worried about perpetual tenancies and universal rent control, while supporters of the measure called it too weak, partly because it was not made automatic outside of New York City.

Cea Weaver, Housing Justice for All’s coalition director, hailed the vote by the Albany Common Council while foreshadowing what’s to come.

“Albany is just the beginning,” Weaver said in a statement. Kingston and Ithaca are among the municipalities considering opting into the state’s “good cause” measure.

Read more

Albany, Kingston Considering New “Good Cause Eviction” Law
Albany, Kingston eye “good cause eviction” law, enabled by state
Good Cause Eviction: Win for NY Gov. Hochul
New York
How Hochul played the “good cause eviction” game, and won
Judge Christina Ryba and Housing Justice For All’s Cea Weaver (NYSBA, iStock)
Judge voids Albany’s good cause eviction law; tenants abandon city-by-city push