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City leaders to vote on support of statewide rent stabilization

March 15, 2019 10:08 pm

HUDSON — Could rent stabilization be on the way for Hudson?

Columbia County is one of 54 counties across the state that does not have rent stabilization guaranteed under the state’s Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974.

The act, which applies to Nassau, Westchester, Rockland counties and New York City, provides rental protections including rent stabilization. Under the law, landlords are subject to regulated rent increases and tenants have the right to renewal leases. The act also formed a local board that would determine annual allowable rental increases.

The act expires this year, and that would provide state lawmakers an opportunity to improve on the legislation and expand it, according to the resolution.

The Common Council will vote on a resolution that would support an expansion of the Emergency Tenant Protection Act for the rest of the state. The act will be voted on during the Common Council’s formal monthly meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 520 Warren St.

The resolution calls on Hudson’s representatives in Albany to “strike the geographical restrictions from the ETPA so that local governments can take an active role addressing the cost of rental housing,” according to the resolution.

Majority Leader and 2nd Ward Alderman Tiffany Garriga said passing the resolution would open the door to rent stabilization legislation in the future. Garriga introduced the resolution to the Common Council. There is no resolution or proposed local law to bring rent stabilization to Hudson.

“This resolution is for a law that was pretty much only for downstate New York and it expired and now is a time for us to reach out to our state officials and ask them to include all of New York state,” Garriga said.

The resolution also endorses several bills under consideration by lawmakers at the state level.

n Preferential Rent: The proposed bill would prohibit owners from adjusting the amount of preferential rent upon a lease renewal.

n Vacancy Bonus: The proposed bill relates to rent increases after vacancy of a housing accommodation and would eliminate the vacancy bonus.

n Vacancy Decontrol: The proposed bill would prevent landlords from being able to take apartments to of rent regulation when existing tenants leaves.

n Good Cause Eviction: The proposed bill brings the right to a lease renewal with limited rent increases to all renters in non-owner occupied buildings in the state.

If passed, the resolution would be sent to U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-43, Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106, and the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.

Rebecca Garrard of the Statewide Housing Organization for Housing Justice with the Citizen Action of New York explained the bills to the Common Council at its informal meeting Monday.

The first three bills aim to close loopholes in the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, Garrard said. The fourth would protect tenants who might be afraid to complain about their living conditions to their landlords for fear of eviction, she said.

“I see no reason it should affect tax dollars,” Garrard said. “Honestly, it just places on the landlords of this wonderful city a responsibility to follow certain rules and practice certain humane procedures as they carry out their duties as landlords. I don’t see it as a huge cost burden to the city.

Rent stabilization generally applies to apartments in buildings of six or more units constructed before 1974, Garrard said.

Fifth Ward Alderwoman Eileen Halloran called the issue of rent stabilization complex, and hinted she wants to hold off on voting on the resolution. She said she wants to see information on what happened to those communities with rent stabilization in place and explore possible outcomes in Hudson.

“I think this is an awful lot to ask us to understand and vote on in a week,” Halloran said.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedaily/mail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.