Monday, April 25, 2022

Of Interest

A statewide "good cause" eviction law has been proposed both in the New York State Senate (S2892B) and Assembly (A5030B). The bills are still in committee, but the proposed law is already causing anxiety among landlords in the Capital Region. Last Thursday, WRGB did a feature on the subject: "Landlords fear New York's "Good Cause" Eviction legislation." Over the weekend, the Albany Business Review reported the proposed law is "prompting some landlords in the region to get out of the business by selling their rental properties": "These property managers want to sell their rentals in the Albany area. Here's why."

It will be remembered that last year Hudson was all set to pass its own "good cause" eviction law. The Common Council voted to enact the law in September--with eight yes votes, one abstention, and two aldermen absent from the meeting. After the vote took place, Rebecca Wolff, then an alderman representing the First Ward, wanted revisions made to the law. The most significant revision was eliminating change of ownership as an acceptable cause for evicting tenants from a building. To accomplish the changes, it was decided that Mayor Kamal Johnson would veto the law and send it back to the Council, where it would be amended and voted on again. When the amended law came before the Council in December, it was defeated. The vote was five to five, with one abstention. It did not have the majority required to pass.  


  1. John Friedman submitted this comment by email:

    Landlords, and everyone else, should fear the “Good Cause” legislation since, if enacted, there won’t be many private rental options left in NYS. Being a landlord is already a very difficult way to earn a living or even a decent return on investment in NYS. Landlords already have very little recourse if a tenant is problematic for failure to pay or causing a health or safety issue. The courts are backlogged, slow and often view landlords as private, uncompensated social service agencies. And these problems are magnified in markets like Hudson where the vast majority of landlords own buildings with fewer than 6 apartments: if one tenant ceases paying the rent on time, the landlord’s value proposition on the property is upside-down. Short-sighted tenants may not care; those with vision will understand that when a prospective buyer appears, they will likely seek to covert the rental property to a one-family home — less grief, easier sale, better return on both investment and sanity. It’s almost as if some in the state don’t want private ownership of property . . ..

  2. The name of the bill is misleading. As it stands, you already need "good cause" to evict, which is a termination of the lease due to breaking of obligations in said lease. What this bill is is "lease renewal for life." How is it right to force one party to extend a contract past its duration? Would it seem fair if a tenant was forced to stay and continue paying rent, even if their life's path changes and they want to move? What if they had to prove in court they had "just cause" to move? Would they have to prove they are buying a home, or maybe show an out of town job offer. This will hurt small time owners the most. I have a bad feeling that this law will be passed as a compromise for the real estate industry to get 421a tax abatements in NYC renewed, thereby big industry players and government working together to screw the little guy.

  3. I'm a resident owner of a two family house, and rented its downstairs apartment for the past couple of decades. The start of the GCE effort in NYS coincided with the (voluntary) departure of my last tenant. Given that the legislation pending in Albany could easily encompass two families with a simple rewrite, and given that I had a couple of destructive/nuisance tenants who nevertheless paid their rent regularly (and I had to evict), I opted to take the apartment off the market permanently. It made more sense than living with the fear that (at the discretion of some judge) I could suddenly be stuck with a tenant for life. Do I need the income? Yes. But I need the peace of mind more.