HUDSON — Officials are looking to curb the price of rent for city residents in an effort to tackle affordable housing.
A number of state communities have recently established rent regulation programs to protect tenants in privately owned buildings from illegal rent increases. Hudson is not one of them.
Housing and Transportation Committee members are looking into the issue, 2nd Ward Alderwoman Tiffany Garriga said at the committee’s monthly meeting Thursday.
“We need to work on creating tenant protection plan for our citizens — we don’t have any,” Garriga said. “I called the city clerk’s office to find out what do we have under the city charter or code under housing.
“It is amazing. There is nothing there.”
Rent stabilization programs are administered by the Office of Rent Administration — a department under the state’s Homes and Community Renewal agency. The Office of Rent Administration also tackles preservation of affordable housing, according to the state’s Homes and Community Renewal website
So far, rent stabilization exists in New York City, Nassau, Rockland, and Westchester counties, according to the state Homes and Community Renewal’s website.
“I had a brief conversation with the city attorney [Andrew Howard] and right now, rent stabilization is enacted by the state Legislature and it looks like it is only being done in the downstate counties,” Garriga said. “It doesn’t look like it has been done in upstate New York.”
Rent regulation is intended to protect tenants in privately owned buildings from illegal rent increases and allow owners to maintain their buildings and realize a reasonable profit.
Rent stabilization can provide other protections to tenants beyond the limitations on the amount of rent, according to the agency.
“Tenants are entitled to receive required services, to have their leases renewed and may not be evicted except on grounds allowed by law,” according to the state Homes and Community Renewal’s website. “Leases may be renewed for a term of one or two years at the tenant’s choice.”
The committee could also look into enacting tenant protection laws in the city, Garriga said.
The village of Ossining in Westchester County is the latest state community to consider tenant protection laws. Village officials are expected to vote on enacting the Emergency Tenant Protection Act in an unscheduled vote.
Dozens of tenants marched to the Ossining Village Hall on Wednesday to urge the village trustees to vote for the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, according to a statement from Community Voices Heard Power— an organization that advocates for the rights of low-income New Yorkers.
The opt-in legislation allows for various municipalities in Nassau, Rockland, Westchester counties under housing emergencies — or with housing vacancy rates less than 5 percent — to allow for rent stabilization.
As of 2015, Hudson has an overall housing vacancy rate of 16.2 percent, according to American Fact Finder, a division of the United States Census Bureau. The city’s rental vacancy rates were not listed on the website.
In 2016, the average person spent about $749 a month on rent and utilities in Hudson, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A city resident’s median income was $31,042 in 2016, compared with the national median household income at $59,039, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Through these cities all along the Hudson Valley, we know people are being priced out — pushed out,” Hudson resident Quintin Cross said at Thursday’s meeting. “We know that to some folks, economic development is not community development. So, it is a perfect time to think about [rent stabilization].”
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