New Paltz considers ‘good cause’ eviction law to protect tenants


The Village of New Paltz is considering a “just cause” eviction law that would require automatic lease renewals and prohibit landlords from evicting tenants unless there is “just cause” for the eviction. referral.

The village held its first public hearing on August 11 after the measure was introduced in July. Deputy Mayor Alexandria Wojcik drafted the bill, which she says will be amended after a public comment period that could last until September. In New Paltz, 73 percent of residents are renters.

“We need longer-term residents,” said Wojcik, who believes this law could help fill that need. “Our whole community functions thanks to volunteers… which requires having a stable community. We all win when people are stable in their homes.

New Paltz would be the third municipality in the state to enforce a law on “good cause” evictions. The city of Albany passed a law there in mid-July, which gives tenants the right to a renewed lease and protection against large rent increases and evictions, unless landlords fulfill one of the 10 possible conditions.

Hudson, in Columbia County, introduced a similar law on August 9 with the support of Mayor Kamal Johnson. Similar to Albany’s Law, Hudson proposes that a tenant cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent if the rent has increased by more than 5% per year.

Why is it up to local municipalities? Defended tenants’ rights have prompted New York to pass a statewide “good cause” eviction law in recent years, though they have failed to include it in the law. Tenant Protection Emergency, the latest major tenant rights bill to become state law.

The gist of the “good cause” evictions law is similar – the measure would require landlords to justify the displacement of its residents. The New Paltz Village Bill that was tabled and introduced on August 11 prevents landlords from removing tenants without first obtaining an order from a judge of the New Paltz Court of Justice. The law states that every tenant will be entitled to a lease renewal and to protections against eviction against rent increases beyond a certain threshold.

“In order to remove someone from their accommodation as a tenant, they have to go through the eviction process in court,” Wojcik said. “This law would establish what are good causes and what the courts will have to consider. With all housing laws, most things [usually] get to this point.

New Paltz landlords could still evict tenants if they violate any of the 10 requirements, such as not paying rent, denying a landlord access to make necessary repairs, or conducting business. illegal on the premises.

The law would not apply to owner-occupied premises with fewer than two units.

At the last public hearing, an informal coalition of New Paltz landlords expressed opposition to the bill, particularly regarding protecting tenants from paying a rent increase above 5%. Wojcik said the 5% number was chosen because it is the state-level threshold for which some type of notification requirement comes into effect.

In Albany, the owners were to launch a legal challenge to the law. Landlords there also criticized the bill, with similar concerns over the threshold for rent increases erasing the “good cause” designation. Others argued that the legislation would curb a homeowner’s incentive to invest in their properties. In New Paltz, Wojcik explicitly stated that the 5% threshold is not rent control or stabilization.

Wojcik said New Paltz is in particular need of this local law. The Village of New Paltz, which includes SUNY New Paltz, has a higher rental turnover rate than the City of Albany, according to census data.

“We have a very unstable tenant population,” Wojcik said. “I know some people will disprove this and say it’s because of the students. If you go to campus in the first year, there are three years left [renting off campus]. “

Plus, with the influx of people from New York City since the pandemic, the need is even greater, according to Wojcik.

“There is a tendency for people with more money to flock to the community and pay much higher prices for the sale and rent of the house,” she said.

Since the last public hearing, Wojcik said she has been working to clarify the bill to address concerns. The next public hearing will take place on August 25 at 7 p.m. in the village hall. The discussion will likely continue until September, so SUNY New Paltz students have a chance to have their say as well. By the end of September, there could be a vote.

“It creates a clearer roadmap,” Wojcik said. “This will promote better communication between tenants and landlords and help all parties, so that no one is homeless or faced with any instability. “

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