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State Senate Holds Hearing on Good Cause Eviction Legislation

On Jan. 7th, the New York State Senate Standing Committees on Judiciary and Housing, Construction, and Community Development held a hearing to examine Senate Bill 3082, introduced by Senator Julia Salazar of Brooklyn, to prohibit eviction without "good cause." Held virtually and with oral testimony by invitation only, the hearing featured tenants pitted against property owners, with advocates, activists, and legal experts providing arguments on each side.

The legislation would prohibit a landlord from failing to renew a tenancy, either through eviction or non-renewal of a lease agreement, without first showing good cause for the eviction to the court. Good cause would include reasons such as nuisance behavior or non-payment of rent – unless that non-payment is due to an unreasonable rent increase, which the bill assumes to be any increase more than the greater of 3 percent or 150 percent of the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Tenant advocates hope to see the bill passed before the State’s eviction moratoria lapse on Sat., Jan. 15th, which they predict will exacerbate an existing crisis of predatory landlords seeking to displace vulnerable tenants via “no-cause” eviction, failure to offer a lease renewal, and exorbitant rent hikes. A property owner already acting in good faith, they argue, should have no reason to oppose the good cause eviction legislation.

Property owners and managers called for data to support tenants’ anecdotal claims of unjust evictions and pointed to the already excruciatingly slow process of evicting a nuisance tenant in certain parts of the state as evidence that the “one-size-fits-all” approach presented by good cause will not work for everyone. Rather than improving housing stability, they say, limited rent increases and automatic lease renewals will prevent critical repairs and drive good tenants away.

The hearing was led by Committee Chairmen Senators Hoylman and Kavanagh and attended by bill sponsor Senator Salazar as well as Senators Skoufis, Brisport, Boyle, Kaplan, Helming, Rivera, Mannion, Martucci, Palumbo, Gounardes, and O’Mara. Testimony is available on the New York State Senate website.

LeadingAge NY will submit written testimony this week opposing the good cause eviction proposal and will continue to keep members up to date on the development and advancement of eviction-related proposals at the state and local levels.

Contact: Annalyse Komoroske Denio, akomoroskedenio@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8866