POUGHKEEPSIE – On Monday, November 15th, the Poughkeepsie 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 Sarah Salem, Evan Menist, Randall Johnson, Yvonne Flowers, Natasha Cherry, and Chris Petsas voted in favor of the legislation, Councilmember Lorraine Johnson voted against, and Councilmembers Sakima McClinton and Sarah Brannen abstained.
The legislation aims to fundamentally affirm 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 passed in Poughkeepsie is modeled after legislation that has been passed in the cities of Albany, Hudson, and recently (at the urging of For the Many and community residents) in the City of Newburgh, and is currently pending in Ithaca, Kingston, the Village of New Paltz, Ulster County, and other municipalities.
“More than 5 million NY Households have no protections against unfair evictions and over 59% of the more than 8,000 renters in the City of Poughkeepsie are considered rent-burdened,” said Sarah Salem, City of Poughkeepsie Council Chairperson, who championed the legislation. “This legislation was critically needed for renters in the City of Poughkeepsie and its passage not only ensures housing security to our tenants but will strengthen our ability to provide stable and quality housing on a long-term basis to the benefit of our entire community, homeowners, tenants, and landlords alike. I am so proud of this Common Council for voting in support of this bill and for listening to our constituents and prioritizing their needs and I hope that we see this bill continue to pass throughout other communities in the Hudson Valley and New York State.”
“At a time when our neighbors are being displaced from their homes at an alarming rate and long-time local landlords are being bought out and replaced by greedy corporations, Poughkeepsie needs the protections provided by Good Cause Eviction,” said Evan Menist, 2nd Ward Councilmember, who also sponsored the legislation. “In this city where over 70% of residents are renters, working families deserve to know that their representatives in city government are fighting for them, not for corporate profits.”
“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 does not aim to punish good landlords – it simply establishes a foundation for tenant rights, that protects tenants, rewards good landlords, and strengthens our entire community”.
“To me, passing Good Cause Eviction means that I will be able to continue to have enough money for my medical co-pays. I am disabled and live on the $1400 a month I receive from Social Security disability benefits – if my rent went up even 6%, I don’t know what I’d do,” said Mignon Delapuente- Poughkeepsie resident, tenant, and member of For the Many. “I am so thankful that the Poughkeepsie City Council voted to pass Good Cause Eviction because it provides a sense of security I haven’t had.”
The legislation will amend Chapter 12 entitled “Housing” of the code of the City of Poughkeepsie to “prohibit evictions without good cause ”. It now goes to Mayor Robert G. Rolison, who has ten days to either sign or veto the legislation. If those ten days elapse without any mayoral action, the legislation becomes law.
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.