Skip to Content
Morning Spew

NY’s Good Cause Eviction Compromise Probably Won’t Do Shit for You and Millions of Other Renters

A truly grim outlook for tenants this year's state budget, and other stories to start your day.

(Hell Gate)

After tenants and housing advocacy groups successfully pushed through a series of reforms meant to stop the city's hemorrhaging of rent-stabilized apartments to deregulation in 2019, those same groups began demanding an end to a system where all other tenants who pay their rent on time are vulnerable to exorbitant rent hikes and displacement.  

Good Cause Eviction protections would give tenants the right to challenge a rent hike in court if it was above a certain limit and if they were in good standing as tenants. That this is needed is clear—New York state is in the midst of a massive housing affordability crisis that has people leaving the state. And yet, until this legislative session, the proposal went nowhere, as both Andrew Cuomo and then Kathy Hochul remained adamantly opposed to further tenant protections, and landlords continued to throw fits over 2019's strengthened tenant protections. 

This year's budget process, where the bulk of legislation in New York is passed, was supposed to be different. Hochul, following lawmakers' inability last year to do anything regarding housing production in the state, was determined to get expired tax breaks favored by developers, like 421-a, back into play, and to do anything to get housing production ramped up, even if that meant adding tenant protection provisions to the budget. 

The seeming results of months of negotiations? A budget proposal that appears to weaken existing tenant protections, and leaves out millions of unregulated tenants from even having a chance to exercise the minimal Good Cause provisions, thanks to a host of exemptions that are reportedly included in the proposal, which would make municipalities "opt in" to the law and exempt smaller landlords as well as rental units that are on the high end of the market. 

According to reports, the current Good Cause proposal would cap rent increases at 10 percent, or five percent plus the increase in the consumer price index, whichever is higher, and again, provided you can find a lawyer to help battle your landlord in court. 

At the same time, landlords of regulated units would win concessions in the form of weakening some of the 2019 reforms, allowing them to charge more money for vacant units they've renovated. 

Via City & State:

In addition to the “good cause” compromise, the housing deal would also include an increase to the amounts that landlords of rent-stabilized units can increase rents by after performing individual apartment improvements. The 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act limited landlords to raising the monthly rent by either $83 or $89, depending on building size, in order to recoup up to $15,000 of repairs. Increases made for individual apartment improvements are currently temporary and must be removed after 30 years.

The potential housing deal would raise that cap. According to three sources, landlords would be able to recoup up to $30,000 of the costs of renovations through rent increases. That would increase to $50,0000 for apartments vacated by tenants of 25 years or more. Two sources said that apartments that became vacant within the past few years would also be eligible for the higher repair cost cap.

Landlords have claimed an inability to raise rents higher has led them to have to leave apartments in need of renovation vacant, something tenant groups have contested (landlords still panned the current proposal). Tenant advocates say raising the amount landlords can charge to renovations to vacant apartments will lead to tenant harassment and displacement

The housing deal would also give out millions in tax subsidies to developers, with a modicum of required affordable housing in return. 

Tenant groups are furious and plan to rally today at the Governor's Midtown office. Key local legislators are criticizing the deal. But legislative leadership claims the state is close to a handshake deal on the budget. Will tenants find their dream of housing stability used by politicians to score a sweet deal for landlords and the real estate lobby? In Albany, you can't always get what you want. And sometimes? You get the exact opposite of what you want. That's politics, baby.

Some links that are exactly what you want on this beautiful spring day: 

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Give us your email address to keep reading two more articles for free

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

MAGA Loons, Drill Rappers, and Unlikely Voters: The Never-Ending Trump Rally Comes to the South Bronx

"If Trump is here, and he's asking for a second chance, I can't judge that."

May 24, 2024

Finally, NYC Gets the Bird We Deserve

All hail our new beady-eyed queen, Astoria the wild turkey! And more news to take you into the long weekend.

May 24, 2024

Is the NYPD Solving Crimes? Who Knows—Their Last Published Clearance Data Is From 2022

City law requires the NYPD to report its clearance rates quarterly. Under the Adams administration, it just…stopped.

See all posts