Upstate official can’t find a $1,200 rental in her village

Deputy mayor facing eviction as she struggles to locate housing

New Paltz deputy mayor Alexandria Wojcik (Facebook, Getty)
New Paltz deputy mayor Alexandria Wojcik (Facebook, Getty)

The lack of affordable housing in one Hudson Valley village is so stark that one of its top officials may be forced to live elsewhere.

New Paltz deputy mayor Alexandria Wojcik is in a desperate search for a new home as her landlord has put the property that includes her two-bedroom apartment up for sale, the Times Union reported.  Wojcik is facing eviction by nonrenewal.

The deputy mayor, while bemoaning the lack of protections for people in her situation, doesn’t blame the landlord, saying he did everything by the book.

Still, Wojcik is facing a significant problem. Village officers are expected to live in the village they serve. Exceptions can be made for those who must relocate on an emergency basis as long as they plan to come back.

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Wojcik has championed affordable housing in the area and pushed for good cause eviction. She even includes tenant-landlord rights in the signature of her email.

According to Wojcik, roughly 71 percent of New Paltz village residents are renters. She claims the vacancy rate in the village is “close to zero.” Building apartments in some upstate and suburban areas has been difficult because of community opposition and restrictive zoning by local governments. Meanwhile, demand for housing there has increased during the pandemic.

Wojcik is looking to spend $1,200 a month for a space for herself and her two cats. She’s been burning the midnight oil looking at housing boards, Facebook, Craigslist, Zillow and SUNY New Paltz off-campus housing forums to find a place, preferably not with a local undergraduate.

As someone well versed in tenant-landlord law, Wojcik has been distressed by some of what she has found, including scam postings that require deposits before looking and some that don’t even exist. She’s also found listings that require upfront payment of the last month’s rent, which is illegal in the village.

New Paltz has seen this movie before. In 2013, Mayor Jason West also lost a place to live, forcing him to couch surf before he found a temporary apartment. As it happens, Wojcik was West’s upstairs neighbor.

— Holden Walter-Warner