Council Passes Good Cause Eviction Law

NEWBURGH – On Monday, October 25,the Newburgh City Council voted to pass Good Cause Eviction legislation, at the urging of community members, tenant rights activists, and the grassroots organization For the Many. Councilmembers Grice, Sofokles, Shakur, Mejia, Moteverde, and Mayor Harvey voted in favor of the legislation, there were no votes against, and Councilmember Sklarz abstained.

The legislation aims to fundamentally protect tenant rights by protecting against unfair evictions and predatory rent increases.

The law states that landlords shall not remove tenants except under several listed circumstances, such as the tenant violating an obligation of their lease, or the landlord wanting to reclaim the property for personal use. The law also prevents evictions in cases in which the tenant fails to pay rent due to a pattern of “unconscionable” rent increases.

The Good Cause Eviction law proposed in Newburgh is modeled after legislation that has been passed in the cities of Albany and Hudson and currently pending in Hudson, Ithaca, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, New Paltz, Ulster County, and other municipalities.

“Good Cause Eviction does not mean the tenant does not have to pay rent, can do illegal activities, or violate the terms of the lease. It encourages landlords to have their properties up to code, and empowers tenants when asking for their housing to be up to code,” said At-Large Council Member and Orange County Clerk candidate Anthony Grice, who introduced the legislation. “It protects tenants and landlords by giving them a lease which helps with stability. I am proud to work with For the Many and Giselle Martinez on bringing this legislation to the City of Newburgh”.

“The Good Cause Eviction law allows for tenants to have safer living conditions and address quality of life concerns without fear of retaliation. This added protection to tenants would prohibit unjustifiable reasons for evictions that create housing instability while also helping first time homeowners and good landlords compete in the market,” said Giselle Martinez, Democratic nominee for Council Member, Ward 1 and supporter of the legislation. “This law benefits everyone in our community while allowing us to protect our most vulnerable. I am proud of the work For the Many and Councilmember Anthony Grice have championed”.

“We speak with tenants in this community every day who desperately need these protections in order to guard against abuse from predatory landlords” said Brahvan Ranga, Political Coordinator at For the Many”. Good Cause legislation was specifically recommended in the Leviticus Housing Report commissioned by the City Council, and now the Council has taken a courageous first step addressing Newburgh’s housing crisis”.

“This is a major victory for tenants in Newburgh, who will now receive robust protection against eviction and homelessness thanks to this legislation,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “ We celebrate this win and will continue to fight for Good Cause for the nearly 1.6 million households which remain susceptible to exorbitant rent hikes and other eviction tactics by unscrupulous landlords”.

The Council voted to pass the legislation immediately after a public hearing about the bill, during which tenants from the City of Newburgh voiced their support for the law, and in some cases sharing personal stories, demonstrating why the law is so urgently needed. These testimonies from tenants were joined by comments from homeowners, and even some landlords who supported the Good Cause law.

The legislation amends the City Code of Ordinances chapter 240, entitled “Rental Properties” to add Article III entitled “Prohibition of Eviction without a Good Cause”.
For the Many (formerly known as Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson) is building a grassroots movement of everyday people to transform New York so it works for all of us, not the greedy few.

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