Hudson Valley landlords seek to kill rent stabilization in its infancy

Lawsuit tries to stop vacancy surveys in progress

Hudson Valley Landlords Seek to Kill Rent Stabilization
Hudson Valley Property Owners Association's Richard Lanzarone (Getty, Linkedin)

As the prospect of rent stabilization rears its head across the Hudson Valley, property owners are pushing back before it can get started.

To that end, the Hudson Valley Property Owners Association and a pair of landlords filed a lawsuit in federal court, the Rockland County Business Journal reported. The suit aims to halt vacancy surveys that could lead to rent stabilization in the city of Poughkeepsie and the village of Nyack.

The state’s Division of Homes and Community Renewal, which administers the Emergency Tenant Protection Act that would ultimately restrict rents, was also named as a defendant.

The plaintiffs allege that an ETPA amendment that requires landlords to turn over business records opens the door to warrantless, overreaching administrative searches. They argue that landlords lack administrative remedies to deal with this.

Property owners also take issue with an amendment that deems owners who don’t respond to the vacancy surveys as having no vacancies. The plaintiffs claim this harms compliant property owners and skews the results.

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“Instead of improving accuracy, this feature allows municipalities to manipulate the vacancy rate lower as was done by Kingston in their 2022 vacancy survey,” Richard Lanzarone, executive director of the Hudson Valley property owners group, told Mid-Hudson News.

Under state law, a vacancy rate below 5 percent signifies a housing emergency and is grounds for rent stabilization. The HVPOA was part of a failed effort to overturn rent stabilization in Kingston, which an appellate court ruled this month could remain in place.

Nyack has had fits and starts with its vacancy surveys. Its first attempt found a rate below 5 percent, but it was discarded because an ineligible property was included. A second survey found a vacancy rate above 5 percent. The village is considering a third survey to clarify its findings.

Meanwhile, Poughkeepsie is in the process of conducting its own vacancy survey.

Holden Walter-Warner

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