At the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, the amended "good cause" eviction law was laid on the aldermen's desks. The Council is expected to vote on the law in December. The major change in this version of the law from the law as it was passed by the Council in September is the elimination of transfer of ownership as a "good cause" for evicting tenants.
Predictably, there were many attending the Zoom meeting who wanted to comment about the law. Steve Dunn expressed concern about "deleting paragraph 9," the paragraph that makes transfer of ownership a "good cause" for eviction. He noted that, in cities that have passed the legislation, the paragraph had not been deleted. To Gossips' knowledge, only two cities have actually passed the legislation: Albany and Newburgh. It can be assumed that the Albany law includes paragraph 9, because it was Albany's law that was copied to create Hudson's original version of the law. The version of the law that Newburgh passed on October 25 also includes paragraph 9. Newburgh's law can be found here. Dunn also mentioned Ithaca and said Ithaca "has deferred until the Attorney General offers an opinion." Dunn concluded, "Hudson does not have safety in numbers." He also predicted that, if the legislation were to be enacted, "The only tenant housing left over time will be subsidized housing."
Gossips found this article, published on Tuesday, November 16, in The Ithaca Voice, reporting on the state of the law in Ithaca: "Good cause eviction legislation falters temporarily, will be considered again in December." The law being considered in Ithaca does not include transfer of ownership as a "good cause" for eviction. From the article, it appears that Ithaca is pretty much in the same place as Hudson is when it comes to this legislation.
Kristal Heinz objected to what she considered the thinking behind the legislation: "the notion that all the landlords here are from out of town and trying to take advantage" of renters in Hudson. She predicted that, as a consequence of the legislation, "Landlords will not take chances with people, preferring people who seem to be short-term and moving on to home ownership."
Rebecca Garrard, who is the legislative director for Citizens Action, insisted that "Hudson is not going rogue." She argued, "The law exempts owner occupied property, so if you want to buy a property and move into it, you can." She also maintained that it is "clear in the legislation that, if property taxes go up or improvements have been made, you can exceed the 5 percent [cap on rent increases]." Garrard said of the legislation, "This is going to allow landlords to be profitable but not in a way that is predatory."
Heinz insisted that the conversation about the legislation "should be expanded and should not be rushed into." Alderman Rebecca Wolff, who initiated the legislation, insisted it was "important not to catastrophize the landlords' plight," asserting, "This law is one of the many tools that the City has to address the situation . . . [of] people not being able to stay where they are."
Fourth Ward supervisor Linda Mussmann called for more time to discuss the law, alleging, "In fact, it is a kind of taking."
Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) ended the discussion, noting that "the majority of the people on the call are tenants and people who work with tenants," claiming that "only a few landlords keep speaking up," and suggesting that those landlords were "slumlords that don't wanna do the right thing."
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